Monday, Oct 20, 2008
The Missouri Supreme Court has dismissed a class action lawsuit alleging that the Coca-Cola Company deceived consumers by not disclosing the artificial sweeteners used in Diet Coke products sold from the soda fountains of fast food and other restaurants.
The lawsuit was initiated by Missouri resident Diana Pennington after she discovered that the Diet Coke sold from soda fountains contained both aspartame and saccharin, in contrast to that sold in bottles and cans, which contains only aspartame. Because studies have linked saccharin to an increased risk of cancer, Pennington said, she would not have purchased the product if she had known it contained that ingredient. The class action lawsuit sought damages on behalf of all customers in a similar position.
Coca-Cola responded to the charges by saying that the law does not require it to disclose ingredients of fountain drinks at the point of sale, only for products sold in pre-packaged form. Many retailers make the ingredients of the products they sell available, the company said, but it is not Coke’s responsibility.
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Writing for the majority, Judge William Ray Price Jr. said the lawsuit was dismissed because it would be too difficult to determine who had actually been injured by the practice.
As filed, the lawsuit included as plaintiffs all Missouri residents who consumed Diet Coke after March 24, 1999, a group that “undoubtedly includes an extremely large number of uninjured class members, that is, those who did not care if the Diet Coke they purchased contained saccharin.”
To qualify as injured parties, Price wrote, “consumers would have to not only recall the amount of fountain Diet Coke they purchased out of the innumerable fountain beverages they purchased during the past five years, but also that they would have not purchased fountain Diet Coke if they had known it contained saccharin.”
This article was posted: Monday, October 20, 2008 at 4:36 am