Schneiderman settles with beverage company over ads

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 11, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday his office has settled with a beverage company, resolving allegations it used misleading advertising that targeted Hispanic communities.

The Varas Group allegedly used advertising that claimed its Chicha Limena soft drinks contained an ingredient that fights cancer and diabetes.

Chicha Limena is a non-carbonated beverage that contains water, sugar cane, pineapple, lemon, cinnamon, cloves and purple maize extract.

Purple maize, or purple corn, has been touted as containing high levels of antioxidants, but the precise health benefits or the required consumption levels to achieve a benefit have not been established in scientific literature.

The Varas Group allegedly tried to expand its sales and capitalize on the popularity of purple corn-based products with marketing that contained unsubstantiated health claims.

"There has to be one set of rules for everyone, including those who would make dubious health claims about their products," Schneiderman said. "While soft drink companies may market the advantages of their products, they may not make unsubstantiated claims that their products have the potential to prevent or cure serious health problems."

Under the terms of the agreement, The Varas Group agreed to pay $5,000 in penalties, costs and fees. The company also will cease the use of health-related claims in all marketing materials.

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