Two pastors filed a lawsuit on Thursday from Coca-Cola along with the American Beverage Association, asserting the soda producers knowingly deceived clients about health risks through its advertisements.
William Lamar and Delman Coates promised Coca-Cola executives ran campaigns which intentionally confused customers on the connection between the soft drinks and obesity, The Washington Post reported. D.C. Superior Court filed the complaint on behalf of the pastors along with the Praxis Project, a public health team.
“Its become very clear for me who were losing more people to the candies compared to roads,” Coates, ” the pastor in Marylands Mount Ennon Baptist Church, told the paper.
Lamar, the senior leader in D.C.’s historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, also echoed the identical sentiment.
Coates added that he previously saw members of the congregation feeding babies Coca-Cola in baby bottles.
“Theres a great deal of misinformation from our communities, and that I believe thats largely a function of those deceptive marketing and advertising campaigns,” Coates said.
The lawsuit alleges that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on research, blog articles and advertising campaigns to disprove or confuse the connection between consuming sugary soda drinks and obesity.
Coca-Cola, yet, said in a statement to the Washington Post the allegations were “factually meritless,” adding that it will “vigorously defend against them”
“The Coca-Cola Company knows that we’ve got a part to play in helping individuals lower their sugar consumption,” the announcement read.
The American Beverage Association also disputed the claim that there’s a connection between soda consumption and obesity.
“Beverages are not driving obesity rates,” the organization said. “Obesity was moving up steadily for years while soda consumption was going down slowly. Shouldnt obesity rates have gone down with the reduction in soda consumption if both are connected?
The lawsuit includes a similar suit was filed in California past January, but later removed. That claim also said Coca-Cola and ABA were downplaying glucose role in the rise in obesity cases.
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