Nothing will ruin a company’s positive marketing flow like allegations of toxic chemicals or other health hazards. Iit happened, most recently, when an environmental health watchdog group sent a warning about elevated BPA chemicals in the sports bras produced by popular clothing makers like Nike  (NKE) – Get Free Report, Gap  (GPS) – Get Free Report-owned Athleta and Victoria’s Secret  (VSCO) – Get Free Report.

The brands were asked to modify the chemicals levels in their clothing within 60 days or risk a formal complaint in California court; the notice was sent in October and, so far, there has been no follow-up.

The latest major global brand to fall under chemical scrutiny is drinks giant Coca-Cola  (KO) – Get Free Report. A class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York claims that its Simply Juice Brand is presented as a “healthy” and “natural” product while actually containing PFAS levels “hundreds of times” above the federal limit for drinking water.

Sometimes called “forever chemicals,” PFAS stands for the over 12,000 chemicals known as per- and polyfluorinated substances. While they are extremely common for keeping food fresh and certain types of weather-resistant clothing, some types of PFAS have been linked to certain types of cancer, liver disease and other illnesses.

The lawsuit asks a judge to award “economic compensation” to all the consumers who have “suffered injury” over drinking Simply Juice products over a period that in some cases dates back years. The lawsuit further claims that the tests run by Lurenz found elevated PFAS levels in the water used to make the juice.

“In reality, Plaintiff’s testing has revealed that the Product contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a category of synthetic chemicals that are, by definition, not natural,” reads the lawsuit filed by Joseph Lurenz on Dec. 28.

Coca-Cola did not immediately respond to TheStreet’s request for comment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has claimed that FDA levels in most commercially-available food and drinks is virtually undetectable but has been facing calls for years to regulate the chemicals more strictly, both from environmental activists and food safety scientists.

“When the FDA finds a detectable level of a chemical contaminant in food, such as PFAS, the agency conducts an assessment to evaluate whether the level detected presents a possible human health concern and warrants further FDA action,” the agency writes on its website page about PFAS.

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You’ve Been Seeing More of The Simply Juice Brand

While similar class-action lawsuits take place fairly frequently, the scope of the brand has been drawing attention — Simply is, after Coke itself, the company’s second-biggest brand in terms of revenue and recognition. 

Coca-Cola has also been pinning major hopes on its popularity. Past earnings reports show that it brings in over $1 billion in revenue per quarter.

Even after slashing over 200 brands such as Tab diet soda and Zico coconut water in 2020, Coca-Cola has also been on a mission to expand its Simply presence. Last year, the company launched a line of hard cocktails under the Simply Juice brand. The Simply Spiked canned cocktails come in a 12-pack of strawberry lemonade, watermelon lemonade, blueberry lemonade and regular lemonade flavors while one can also buy 24-ounce standalone cans.


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