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Tropicana Agrees to Halt Health Claims About Orange Juice

From Associated Press

Tropicana Products Inc. will stop claiming that its Healthy Heart orange juice will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, under a settlement reached with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday.

The FTC had alleged that Tropicana, a unit of PepsiCo Inc., misled consumers with claims that drinking two to three glasses a day of its Healthy Heart brand orange juice would produce dramatic effects on blood pressure and cholesterol.

Under the agreement, Tropicana is prohibited from making similar health-related claims in the future unless they can be substantiated by reliable scientific evidence, the FTC said.

Greg Shearson, president of Tropicana Beverages North America, noted that the settlement was “not an admission that the law has been violated.”

Shearson said Tropicana intended to continue “promoting the benefits of Tropicana products as part of a healthy diet.”

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The ads, which ran from 2002 to early 2004, claimed that drinking two to three cups of Tropicana orange juice each day would lower systolic blood pressure by 10 points, raise HDL cholesterol by 21% and improve the HDL-to-LDL cholesterol ratio by 16%, increase blood folate levels by 45% and lower blood homocysteine levels by 11%.

The FTC alleged that those claims were not substantiated and that claims of clinical support were false.

“Orange juice contains many nutrients important to a healthy diet, and advertising can be an important source of information about the health benefits of foods,” said Lydia Parnes of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But it is essential that such advertising be truthful. In this case, Tropicana’s claims went well beyond its scientific support.”


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