Coca-Cola has been accused of misleading consumers in the US over the content of a pomegranate and blueberry flavoured drink sold under its Minute Maid brand.
The accusation was made during a US Supreme Court hearing to consider whether or not rival drink marketer Pom Wonderful can challenge Coca-Cola's labelling of the juice as a "pomegranate blueberry flavored blend of 5 juices" despite in fact consisting mainly of apple and grape juice with just 0.3 per cent pomegranate juice and 0.2 per cent blueberry juice.
While the US Food and Drug Administration had not objected to the wording, Pom Wonderful contended that the Minute Maid label was not only misleading but would also affect sales of its own line of 100 per cent pomegranate juice.
Speaking on behalf of Coca-Cola, Kathleen Sullivan argued that the label complied with FDA rules and could therefore not be sued.
Chief Justice John Roberts commented: "I don't know why it's impossible to have a label that fully complies with the FDA regulations and also happens to be misleading on the entirely different question of commercial competition, consumer confusion that has nothing to do with health."
In a separate case, Pom Wonderful is appealing against accusations levelled at the company by the US Federal Trade Commission, which alleged that it was making health claims for its juices that it could not substantiate.