coca cola light plus in denmark, diet coke plus nutrition, is diet coke plus better for you?
A French "Coca-Cola Light Plus" 1 liter

Denmark Rejects Health Claims of “Diet Coke Plus”

January 14, 2009 04:14 PM
by Isabel Cowles
Coca-Cola’s Denmark representatives will try to convince Danish supermarkets to restock vitamin-enriched Diet Coke Plus and defuse their skepticism about the product’s purported health benefits.

Diet Coke Plus Controversy

Denmark’s two largest supermarket chains, COOP and Dansk Supermarked, removed Diet Coke Plus from their shelves this week, arguing that the beverage label contains misleading health claims. “It was a mistake that we started selling them to begin with, because we’re against vitamin-enriched products,” COOP executive Mogens Werge said.

Coca-Cola’s Denmark affiliates will defend the drink this week, in an effort to encourage the two chains to restock the product. Mikael Bonde-Nielsen, Coca-Cola’s Copenhagen-based spokesman, told Bloomberg, “The product has been approved by Danish food and drink authorities, so there’s no question it’s a legal product we’re selling.”

Diet Coke Plus became available in Denmark on Jan. 5 under the name Coca-Cola Light Plus. The Diet Coke Web site claims that Diet Coke Plus provides “essential nutrients,” including “15% of your RDI for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 10% for zinc and magnesium.”

Background: Danes vs. Vitamin-Enriched Products

Coca-Cola faces an uphill battle against Denmark’s longstanding aversion to vitamin-enriched products. In 2001, the European Court of Justice threatened Denmark with legal action for its continued refusal to allow vitamin-enriched foods into the country’s supermarkets unless there was a clear “nutritional need.”  The European Commission alleged that Denmark’s restrictions created “unjustified trade barriers” within the international market.

However, such condemnation did not stop Denmark from preventing cereal company Kellogg’s from selling vitamin-enhanced breakfast foods in 2004; health officials argued that the amount of additional vitamins was at a “toxic” level that could injure young children and pregnant women.  

Related Topic: FDA Agrees Diet Coke Plus is Mislabeled

In December, the FDA sent a letter to Coke CEO Muhtar Kent, informing him that Diet Coke Plus’ nutrient claims violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

According to Brandweek, the letter states that Diet Coke Plus is “misbranded” because it “bears the nutrient content claim ‘plus’ but does not comply with the regulations governing the use of this claim.” In addition, “the FDA does not consider it appropriate to fortify snack foods such as carbonated beverages.”

Opinion & Analysis: Can Diet Coke Be Healthy?

Tom Philpott of environmental news site Grist argues that Diet Coke is inherently an unhealthy product, noting that the beverage “consists of artificially blackened water tinged with synthetic chemicals.”

Philpott also asserts that adding nutrients to Coke will not improve the quality of the product: “systematically stripping nutrition out of food, and then adding it later in isolated form, is a bust,” Philpott writes, citing the research of food activist Michael Pollen, who advocates that artificially added vitamins and nutrients do not have the same benefits as when they occur naturally in whole foods.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines