PepsiCo Inc. has agreed to change the labels on its Tropicana Peach Papaya and Strawberry Melon drinks, settling a lawsuit that claimed the products' "real fruit juice" descriptions were misleading.
The "real fruit juice" claim referred to pear juice from concentrate, not to peach and papaya or strawberry and melon juices, which were represented by flavorings. The new labels will call the products "flavored juice drink/from concentrate with other natural flavors."
The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey Superior Court in February on behalf of a New Jersey man who bought the Peach Papaya drink. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a food safety advocate, later joined the lawsuit and announced the settlement on Thursday.
PepsiCo will pay the New Jersey man $2,500, donate $100,000 to the American Heart Association programs in New Jersey and cover attorney fees.
PepsiCo spokesman Dave DeCecco said the old label had met federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
But he said the Purchase, N.Y.-based company agreed to the change because "we just want to take every opportunity to provide nutrition information about our products and clearly communicate what's inside each package."
Bottles with the new labels will be on store shelves by January 2006.