7-Up manufacturer Cadbury Schwepps has begun an ad campaign that promotes the soda as "100 percent natural" and pictures cans of 7-Up being picked from fruit trees.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has threatened to sue Cadbury Schwepps if the all-natural claim is not dropped, calling it a misleading untruth.
As part of 7-Up's natural image, the company did drop several artificial ingredients from the soda.
However, CSPI maintains that at least one ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, is still artificial. The other ingredients in the revamped 7-Up are:
- Carbonated water
- Citric acid
- Unspecified "natural flavors"
- Potassium citrate
No Definition of Natural
While there are strict government requirements that must be met before a food or beverage can be labeled as organic, the Food and Drug Administration does not have a strict definition for "natural."
Only meats and poultry must be free of artificial ingredients to be labeled natural. Other foods, including potato chips, ice cream and cookies, can be labeled as natural without a precise definition.
CSPI officials say high fructose corn syrup is not natural because you couldn't make it in your own kitchen "unless you happen to be equipped with centrifuges, hydroclones, ion-exchange columns, and buckets of enzymes." The non-profit group also objects to scenes in 7-Up's TV ads that depict cans of the soda being picked from trees or harvested from the ground, as there is no fruit juice in 7-Up.
Cadbury Schwepps maintains that 7-Up is natural because high fructose corn syrup is made in a similar way to other ingredients that are called natural.