Agreement Clarifies Labeling Of Fruit Juices

Attorney General Spitzer said today that his office has reached an agreement to resolve claims of misleading advertising by one of the nation's leading food processors.

Under the agreement, Mott's Inc. will change the way it labels and markets popular fruit juice products and will take other steps to ensure that consumers have accurate information about product ingredients.

"Clear and truthful labeling is important to consumers, especially on products popular with young children," Spitzer said. "This settlement demonstrates the need for careful oversight by both government authorities and by parents who want better control over their children's diet."

Spitzer's investigation was prompted by concerns that the labels on various Mott's juices give the false impression that its juice products consist solely of the characterizing juice, such as grape juice, when, in fact, that is not the case.

For example, Mott's product labels frequently include the words "100% Juice" with a picture of grapes or cherries. Labels also feature the name of the designated juice directly underneath in lettering twice the size of other writing leading consumers to assume the product is 100 percent grape or cherry juice. In reality, however, the product is often mainly apple juice, blended with a relatively small amount of grape or cherry juice.

This distinction is important for parents who must carefully monitor their children's consumption of certain foods and beverages.

As part of the agreement, Mott's will revise its labels to avoid false impressions about the contents of its products. Mott's will work with the Attorney General's Office to ensure that the labels and ad claims are appropriate.

In settling the charges, Mott's did not admit wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $177,500 to cover the costs of the investigation.

Mott's was founded in Bouckville, Madison County, in 1842, but is now based in Stamford, Connecticut. The company is a subsidiary of the British conglomerate, Cadbury-Schweppes.

The case was handled by Deputy Bureau Chief Dianne E. Dixon of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.