Can you be truthful and misleading?

In a recent Food Navigator article  Odwalla ‘no added sugar’ case to go to private mediation by Elaine Watson+, 12-Jul-2017, the California court has ordered Odwalla into private mediation to resolve a dispute over ‘no added sugar’ claims on 100% juice products.

Why the lawsuit?

In short a truthful claim is misleading! WHAT?@#$? Let’s dissect the issue.

Odwalla proudly displays the claim “No Added Sugars” – that’s a truthful statement, as 100% has nothing added.

What does the regulation say?  21 CFR 101.6(c)(2)

(2) The terms “no added sugar,” “without added sugar,” or “no sugar added” may be used only if:

(i) No amount of sugars, as defined in §101.9(c)(6)(ii), or any other ingredient that contains sugars that functionally substitute for added sugars is added during processing or packaging; and

(ii) The product does not contain an ingredient containing added sugars such as jam, jelly, or concentrated fruit juice; and

(iii) The sugars content has not been increased above the amount present in the ingredients by some means such as the use of enzymes, except where the intended functional effect of the process is not to increase the sugars content of a food, and a functionally insignificant increase in sugars results; and

(iv) The food that it resembles and for which it substitutes normally contains added sugars; and

(v) The product bears a statement that the food is not “low calorie” or “calorie reduced” (unless the food meets the requirements for a “low” or “reduced calorie” food) and that directs consumers’ attention to the nutrition panel for further information on sugar and calorie content.

So technically, 100% orange juice is not a substitute for 100% juice, and thus Odwalla product mislead the consumer and was ‘mislabeld.’


The issue is now in arbitration, we’ll have to wait for the outcome.

Bottom line, know what your claims mean – read all the text or hire an expert that does it for you.  But a truthful phrase,  “No added sugars” has caused Odwalla (i.e. Coca-Cola company) a lot of trouble.




  • Jill Golden MS RDN

    Wow is that confusing. So it comes down to which category 100% juice falls into, should it be compared only to 100% juice drinks or is the category bigger including all juices and juice drinks. I guess this is similar to the light olive oil labeling. Where there could be a competitive advantage when in fact there is no difference. Thanks Debra and Philip for sharing this with us.

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