Home > Diet and nutrition > Food safety Updated 07 October 2015 Coca Cola sued again for false advertising The US Supreme court has ruled that Coca Cola's version of pomegranate juice is not quite the real thing, opening the door to more litigation against food makers for deceptive labelling. 3 Coca Cola's Pomegranate Blueberry on the left vs Pom Wonderful. ~ Related Coke chemical linked to cancer Coke defends safety of aspartame Coca-Cola blames lack of exercise for obesity tsunami Vit & Min doses per day » Count calories in food » Is my vegetarian diet balanced? » Ask The Dietitians » 10 foods to boost your immune system Your quick guide to Banting The US Supreme Court on Thursday 12 June 2014 sided with juice maker Pom Wonderful in its long-running false advertising dispute with the Coca-Cola Co., a decision that could open the door to more litigation against food makers for deceptive labelling. The justices ruled 8-0 that Pom can go forward with a lawsuit alleging the label on a "Pomegranate Blueberry" beverage offered by Coke's Minute Maid unit is misleading because 99 percent of the drink is apple and grape juice. Lower courts had ruled in favour of Coke because the label conforms to the law and to Food and Drug Administration rules.But the Supreme Court reversed, finding that the juice label may technically comply with FDA rules but may still mislead consumers for different reasons.Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the court's opinion, appeared to have telegraphed his position back in April when he said at oral argument that the label even misled him into thinking the drink was mostly pomegranate juice. If it's not pomegranate, what is it?His opinion Thursday focused on the juice's details, noting that the product contained only 0.3 percent pomegranate juice, 0.2 percent blueberry juice and 0.1 percent raspberry juice.Kennedy said the law governing regulation of food and drug labels does not preclude a competitor to sue under a different law for unfair competition based on false or misleading claims. He said federal food and trademark laws complement each other in the regulation of misleading labels.The court also rejected Coke's argument that allowing a deceptive labelling claim would interfere with national uniformity under FDA laws. Kennedy said Congress chose to allow challenges under trademark law "to enforce a national policy to ensure fair competition."Pom, which faces deceptive advertising claims of its own, filed its lawsuit against Coke in 2008 after it began losing market share to Minute Maid's "Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices" drink. The drink's label shows the words "Pomegranate Blueberry" in much larger type than the rest of the phrase and includes a prominent picture of large pomegranate set among other fruits. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favour of Coke, finding that food labelling laws preclude private lawsuits under trademark law. The food and beverage industry had expressed concerns that a ruling for Pom would lead to greater uncertainty about labelling requirements and lead to a flurry of new lawsuits.Changing labels - is that the solution?Coke's lawyer claimed during oral arguments that it would be a "logistical nightmare" for food companies to have to change labels in response to every private lawsuit. The beverage giant says the federal government, not competitors, should be enforcing uniform label requirements. Kennedy acknowledged that allowing trademark claims to be decided by judges and juries in courts around the country "may give rise to some variation in outcome." But he said "this is the means Congress chose to enforce a national policy to ensure fair competition."Claudia Vetesi, a San Francisco attorney specialising in false advertising class action lawsuits, said the decision could lead to an increase in "business to business litigation" over food labeling.Read: We ask, will food labelling really help consumers? "Now a company could make sure its label complies with FDA regulation, but that doesn't mean they won't get sued," said Vetesi, who is not involved in the case. "This chips away at the primacy of the FDA."In a separate case, the federal government has filed a deceptive advertising case against Pom for claiming that its pomegranate juice can treat or prevent heart disease, prostate cancer and other illnesses. The Federal Trade Commission's action is pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.Read more:Parents' guide to food labels Food expiration labels are misleading. Look out for this.Difficulty understanding food labels? Here's what to look out for in terms of energy and portions. More in Diet and nutrition Hong Kong: more cocaine in Red Bull More: Diet and nutritionFood safety advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 3 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors How to still have a good life with diabetes Eye-Q: R50 off! Lose weight Otrivin Menthol relieves sinus congestion Live healthier Love coffee? Your heart may too » What to eat for white teeth Bad foods for teeth-whitening Do any of these drinks cause your teeth to hurt? Savour your coffee – with a bright smile Here's how to stop coffee from staining your teeth while enjoying all its health benefits. Get your groove back! » Get your move on! 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