The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has told Coca-Cola to change the labeling of its vitamin and mineral-fortified diet cola, Diet Coke Plus.
The FDA issued a warning letter to the Georgia-based soft drink giant objecting to wording that describes the drink as "Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals”.
While the FDA did not question whether or not the beverage was indeed fortified with vitamins and minerals, it said the levels were not high enough to warrant the label Coca-Cola employed and in breach of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The FDA said food labeled “plus” must have 10 per cent more in key nutrients than regular versions, and this was not the case with Diet Coke Plus, and was therefore making a nutrition claim, it did “not meet the criteria to make”.
The regulator also took issue with the idea of fortifying snack foods like carbonated beverages with vitamins and minerals, calling it “inappropriate”.
Diet Coke Plus is fortified with magnesium sulfate (declared at 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for magnesium in the Nutrition Facts panel), zinc gluconate (10% DV for zinc), niacinamide (15% DV for niacin), pyridoxine hydrochloride (15% DV for vitamin B6), and cyanocobalamine (15% DV for vitamin B12).
The letter was written on December 10 and Coke was given 15 days to inform the FDA of its plans.
At the time of its launch in March, 2007, senior vice president of Coca-Cola Brands, Katie Bayne, said:
“Consumers, including Diet Coke drinkers, are increasingly looking for more beverage options, and we wanted to offer them the convenience of a calorie-free beverage that is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, and one that delivers on the great taste that they have come to expect from us.”