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Tropicana Sues Minute Maid over Juice Labeling

July 6, 1988

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) _ Tropicana Products Inc. has sued the Coca-Cola Co. over labeling and advertising claims for its ″premium choice″ pasteurized Minute Maid orange juice.

Tropicana contends the description on the side panel of the Minute Maid container and ads depicting the juice as ″100 percent pure Florida orange juice straight from the orange″ are false and deceptive under an appellate ruling in a 6-year-old case.

A Coca-Cola spokeswoman responded that the 1982 case involving a Tropicana television commercial and the new suit are not comparable.

Tropicana filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in New York, said Martin Gutfreund, a Tropicana vice president.

Tropicana maintains its competitor violates the federal appeals court decision governing advertising of pasteurized orange juice.

″Minute Maid seems to us to have willfully disregarded the very rule of law that was established in their own lawsuit,″ Gutfreund said Tuesday.

Coca-Cola established in a 1982 case against Tropicana that no processor could claim pasteurized orange juice was juice ″as it comes from the orange,″ Gutfreund said.

Coca-Cola has been served with a copy of the suit, and a show-cause hearing has been set Monday, said Michelle Beale, Coca-Cola Foods vice president of public affairs in Houston.

″We think Tropicana is making a mountain out of a molehill,″ she said Tuesday night in a telephone interview. ″Basically we think the 1982 lawsuit was materially different. That was a challenge to an entire commercial. What they have done now is pick out a phrase on a package.″