Simply Orange Juice Ingredients Not ‘Natural’: Lawsuit

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A man’s class-action lawsuit against Coca-Cola and Simply Orange says the companies’ tropical juice contains toxic chemicals.

A screenshot of a complaint about Coca-Cola and Simply Orange Juice

Simply Orange Juice is accused of misleading health-conscious customers into believing one of its juices was labeled “all natural” when it wasn’t, according to a class-action lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court, customers are unaware that the Simply Tropical juice drink contains “toxic, man-made” ingredients known as PFAS, commonly referred to as “perpetual chemicals.”

PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of chemicals that break down over time and can harm human health, reports the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency says the chemicals have been used in products dating back to the 1940s.

A New York man who used to buy Simply Tropical juice is suing Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola-owned Simply Orange Juice Co., alleging false and deceptive advertising of the tropical drink, a complaint filed in December said. 28 says.

“Plain beverages are aggressively marketed to health-conscious consumers with ubiquitous ‘all-natural’ product imagery prominently displayed on product packaging,” the complaint states.

The Simply Tropical drink “does not disclose the presence of PFAS — or any other synthetic chemical — in its ingredients.”

McClatchy News reached out to Coca-Cola for comment on Jan. 19 and did not immediately hear back.

A New York man claims he had unconfirmed independent testing of Simply Tropical juice, which found the product had high levels of certain PFAs that were “unequivocally linked to negative health effects.”

What is known about PFAS

PFAS are sometimes used as coating for products — including clothing, furniture, cooking surfaces and more — to make them resistant to heat, grease, oil, stains and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Animal studies have shown that exposure to high levels of PFAS can affect reproduction, the thyroid gland, the immune system and can be especially harmful to the liver, according to the CDC.

But more research is needed to assess how PFAS affects human health, according to the agency.

One particular PFA, known as PFOA — which the man’s lawsuit alleges was found in the Simply Tropical drink — is classified as “possible human carcinogen,” because of its potential link to kidney cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The EPA estimates that thousands of PFAS are already in the US environment and can be found in drinking water, soil, food, household items such as carpets and dishes, and more.

A 2020 study by Consumer Reports found that several popular water brands, including Coca-Cola Topo Chico sparkling mineral water brand, contained “toxic” PFAS. Specifically, Topo Chico has the highest levels of PFAS, according to Consumer Reports.

In response, Coca-Cola said its products “tested below all drinking water standards for PFAS and other criteria set by current US federal and state regulators” and that the company would “prepare for more stringent standards in the future.”

What is the purpose of a class action?

A New York man suing a Simply Tropical drink claims he never would have bought the product if he had known the truth about its ingredients.

He believed the drink “was an ‘all natural’ juice and therefore did not contain artificial, synthetic and harmful chemicals such as PFAS,” but was duped into buying it, the complaint said.

The man claims that Coca-Cola and Simply Orange have harmed not only him, but “the public at large” with their deception, the complaint states.

His lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages, to be determined in court, for himself and other Simply Tropical consumers.

He demands a jury trial.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the Southeast and Northeast while based in New York. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. She has previously written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and others.

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