CSPI Jacks Up Scrutiny of Caffeination and Fortification

November 19, 2012

By Ricardo Carvajal

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (“CSPI”) is taking on caffeination and fortification of foods with renewed vigor.  In a letter to FDA/CFSAN’s Office of Compliance, CSPI alleges that certain foods to which caffeine is added “appear to violate [FDA’s] determination (21 CFR 182.1180) that caffeine is generally recognized as safe only in cola-type beverages at concentrations of 0.02 percent or less.”  CSPI further contends that “the proliferation of caffeinated foods and beverages could lead to troublesome or serious health problems for children and adults who consume those products – especially when they consume multiple products over the day.” 

CSPI also filed a class action against Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. alleging that the company’s addition of vitamin E to its carbonated beverages violates FDA’s Fortification Policy at 21 C.F.R. § 104.20.  CSPI contends that both FDA and federal courts have recognized that the Fortification Policy is legally binding.  CSPI further alleges that the products’ labeling is misleading because it implies that the products’ antioxidant content is derived from real fruit (as opposed to vitamin E), and because the products contain insufficient vitamin E to “provide the health benefits that reasonable consumers associate with antioxidants.”

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