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FDA warns beverage makers on claims, fortification

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

FDA issues warning letters to the makers of Lipton teas and Canada Dry ginger ale for unauthorized nutrition claims. In an Aug. 23 letter, the agency warns Unilever that its Lipton Green Tea product is an unapproved new drug because its website cites studies showing people who drink tea or tea flavonoids have lower cholesterol. The tea is offered for the treatment of conditions a layperson could not diagnose or treat, FDA says, so adequate directions can't be written to ensure its safe use. The tea also includes unapproved nutrient claims, including "high in antioxidant vitamin C," "rich in naturally protective antioxidants" and "packed with flavonoid antioxidants." In an Aug. 30 letter, FDA warns Dr Pepper Snapple Group it does not consider it appropriate to fortify snack foods such as the firm's Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale, which additionally is not in compliance with guidance on antioxidant claims or "more" nutrient content claims. FDA took a similar stance toward Coca-Cola's Diet Coke Plus in 2008 (1"The Tan Sheet" Jan. 5, 2009). Both letters request responses within 15 days of receipt detailing how the company will change the labeling

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