Coca-Cola Faces Litigation Over High PFAS Levels
in Their Simply Juices!
By Mark Schwendau
Nothing messes up a company’s marketing campaign and product flow like allegations of toxic chemicals or other health-hazardous contents in their consumable products. The latest major global brand to fall under chemical scrutiny is Coca-Cola. A class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which claims that its Simply Juice Brand, which is presented as a “healthy” and “natural” fruit juice product contains high poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels “hundreds of times” above the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limit for drinking water.
The poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Fluoropolymer coatings can be found in a variety of different products. A recent review from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure which include cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.
The over 12,000 PFAS-related chemicals, sometimes called “forever chemicals”, are extremely common in products for keeping food fresh to certain types of weather-resistant clothing. However, some types of PFAS have been linked to certain types of cancer, liver disease, and a variety of other illnesses.
The recently filed lawsuit asks a judge to award “economic compensation” to all the consumers who have “suffered injury” over drinking Simply Juice products over a period that, in some cases, dates back years. The lawsuit claims that lab tests found elevated PFAS levels in the water used to make the juice.
“In reality, Plaintiff’s testing has revealed that the Product contains per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, a category of synthetic chemicals that are, by definition, not natural,” reads the lawsuit filed by Joseph Lurenz on December 28.
Coca-Cola said it is “aware of the lawsuit” but “stand[s] by the quality of [its] products” and “will vigorously defend the allegations in the complaint.”
The FDA has been facing calls to regulate the chemicals found in consumable foods and drinks more strictly from both environmental activists and food safety scientists.
“When the FDA finds a detectable level of a chemical contaminant in food, such as PFAS, the agency conducts an assessment to evaluate whether the level detected presents a possible human health concern and warrants further FDA action,” the agency writes on its website page about PFAS.
The Simply brand is, after Coke itself, the company’s second-biggest brand in terms of revenue and recognition. As such, the litigation has been drawing attention because of brand popularity. At our house, we have a bottle of Simply Lemonade with Raspberry, which we will now be throwing out. Past earnings reports from Coke show that it brings in over $1 billion in revenue per quarter.
While Coca-Cola has eliminated over 200 brands, such as Tab diet soda and Zico coconut water, in 2020, it has also been on a mission to expand its Simply product line. For example, last year, in 2022, the company launched a line of hard cocktails under the Simply Juice brand. Simply Spiked canned cocktails come in a 12-pack of strawberry lemonade, watermelon lemonade, blueberry lemonade, and regular lemonade flavors, while one can also buy 24-ounce standalone cans as well.
Consumers of the product have loved it for many years now as a more healthy option to drinking carbonated soda pops, but this new development will give many of them cause to pause. The problem with such litigation is it may have been unintentional or accidental if city water is used and the company did not know the source of the water was tainted. Most such food processing plants such as places that make soda pops, beers, and the like have their own elaborate filtering system for municipal water but such systems may not detect and eliminate PFAS chemicals.
Copyright © 2022 by Mark S. Schwendau
Mark S. Schwendau is a retired technology professor who has always had a sideline in news-editorial writing where his byline has been, “Bringing little known news to people who simply want to know the truth.” He classifies himself as a Christian conservative who God cast to be a realist. Mark is an award-winning educator who has published seven books and numerous peer-reviewed trade journal articles, some of which can be found on the Internet. His father was a fireman/paramedic, while his mother was a registered nurse. He holds multiple degrees in technology education, industrial management, OSHA Safety, and Driver’s Education. His personal website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech.
Dow has history! Dow “knew” for decades that using PFOA to make teflon made people sick and killed! They even dumped the chemicals into water near the plant making farm animals sick and dangerous. Watch docudrama movie “Dark Waters”.