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Pepsi Forks Over $9 Million Settlement, Agrees to Stop Calling Naked Juice 'Natural'

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's The Myth of Natural page.

The Pepsi-owned Naked Juice brand will soon be getting a labeling makeover following a lawsuit that challenged the processed food giant's indiscriminate and deceptive use of the word "natural." According to new reports, PepsiCo has not only agreed to pay out a $9 million settlement as part of the case, but has also relented from labeling its juice products as "all natural," pending further clarification by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the appropriate use of this widely-misunderstood term.

Back in 2011, plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against Pepsi for labeling Naked Juice as being "all natural," despite the fact that many of the products in this brand category contain added synthetic vitamins and other questionable ingredients. According to the Associated Press (AP), plaintiffs had accused Pepsi of even adding a synthetic fiber material made by Big Ag corporation Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) into some types of Naked Juice, an allegation that Pepsi ultimately did not deny.

The case, known as Natalie Pappas v. Naked Juice Co. of Glendora, took particular issue with added ingredients in Naked Juice like zinc oxide, ascorbic acid, and calcium pantothenate, the latter of which is made from formaldehyde, a carcinogenic compound. These and other questionable ingredients, claimed Pappas and others, hardly represent "the freshest, purest stuff in the world," a marketing catchphrase widely used in connection with Naked Juice products.

Besides this, Pappas also accused Pepsi of deceptively using genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in Naked Juice products, despite the fact that they are all labeled as not containing GMOs. Pepsi reportedly denied this claim, insisting that no GMOs are used to produce Naked Juice. The company soon plans to have a third-party certifying group like the Non-GMO Project verify that Naked Juice products are GMO-free in order to quell growing fears about hidden transgenic additives.       


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