Lawyers for Monster Beverage Corp. must be accustomed to courthouses by now. However, this time around, the company is being subjected to a different kind of lawsuit. Caffeine doesn’t even enter the picture.
Last Thursday, plaintiff Frank Cuzakis filed a suit in the Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, Calif., claiming that Monster has deceived consumers by labeling its Hansen’s juices as free of added sugar despite regulations outlawing this claim for products with a high enough amount of calories.
Graphics of “No Sugar Added” can be found on packaging for Hansen’s Apple Grape Juice, Pineapple Grape Juice, Apple Strawberry Juice, Organic Apple Juice and other drinks, which are all made from concentrate.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prevents use of the labels “No Added Sugar,” Without Added Sugar,” or “No Sugar Added” from products containing ingredients with added sugars, such as the concentrated fruit juice used in Hansen’s products, according to the suit.
“Hansen’s knew, or should have known by the exercise of reasonable care, that a ‘No Sugar Added’ statement may not be placed on the label of a food or beverage product that contains fruit juice concentrate,” the suit says, according to Law360, a legal news aggregator.
The FDA also prevents products with a high enough calorie count from using a “No Sugar Added” label. A serving of Hansen’s Apple Juice contains at least 120 calories and low-calorie drinks have a limit of 40 calories. For products that don’t qualify as a low-calorie drink, the “No Sugar Added” label is permitted only if the package also has an additional warning stating that the product isn’t a low- or reduced-calorie option.
Cuzakis, who was diagnosed with Diabetes 27 years ago and has used an insulin pump for the past seven years, said that he wouldn’t have purchased Hansen’s juices if not for the “No Sugar Added” label.