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Unhealthy Foods Marketed as “Healthy”

FantaChildren and teens are the most susceptible to deceptive advertising, especially when it comes to food.  For example, labels that say “Natural Flavors” make the product seem like a good choice.  However, when it appears on the label of a sugary beverage, it becomes deceptive.  The label for Fanta Orange Soda is a good example. Not only does it say 100% Natural Flavors, but there is an image of an orange on the label.  In truth, there is no orange juice in Fanta and only a tiny amount of “natural” flavoring, but lots of high fructose corn syrup. A 16-oz bottle contains 220 calories.

CopyCatSnacksDeceptive health claims are not limited to soda companies. Some companies use deceptive practices to make children and teens think they are choosing a healthier version of the foods they are eating. The USDA Smart Snacks initiative provides guidelines for healthier snacks in schools. Manufacturers have reformulated some traditional snacks to meet these guidelines so their products can provided at schools. However, they sell the unhealthy version using almost identical packaging, and the only version available for sale in stores is the unhealthy version. So, children and teens are  introduced to the healthier version at school, and then sold the unhealthy version with virtually identical packaging when they go to get the same product at the store.

As a final example, “energy” drinks marketed to teens and young adults often contain high levels of caffeine with few other ingredients that could boost energy. Consumer Reports has tested these drinks and found many contained significantly more caffeine than labeled.

Have you been misled about the amount of caffeine in any of these products?

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Have you or your child tried to buy at the store any of these Smart Snacks, which are actually available only in schools?


If you or your child has been the victim of deceptive food marketing, please call us at 888-991-8728 or fill out this form, and one of our attorneys will call to confidentially discuss your case.

The Center for Public Health Litigation will evaluate your individual circumstances to determine if we can help. All consultations are free, but we cannot guarantee that we can take on your case on an individual basis.


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