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How are Vitamin waters water?
March 9, 2008 10:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm baffled how the so-called Vitamin Waters can call themselves "Water". Anything that has calories, sugar, artificial flavoring etc. etc. in it ceases to be water, so how do they get away with it? Are we looking at the possibility of some kind of false advertising lawsuit here?
posted by 543DoublePlay to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anything that has calories, sugar, artificial flavoring etc. etc. in it ceases to be water

Nope, it's still water. And any drinking water is going to have more than H2O in it.
posted by grouse at 10:08 AM on March 9, 2008


The same way that soda water is water. It's water with other stuff added in it.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:14 AM on March 9, 2008


Better example: tonic water.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:14 AM on March 9, 2008


It's getting scary out there. I picked up a bottle of TrimSpa "water" and drank about half of it before reading the warning label which said something to the effect of, "If you are allergic to shellfish, consult your physician before consuming".

Being quite allergic, I freaked out a little bit. I mean, I never thought drinking "water" could kill me.

I should just boil and bottle my own. Or stick to beer.
posted by gummi at 10:15 AM on March 9, 2008


They get away with it because it is, in fact, water. Go on, read the ingredients list. What's at the top of the list? Water.

The product's name is an entirely accurate description. It's water with added vitamins. Vitamin water.
posted by punishinglemur at 10:20 AM on March 9, 2008


Anything that has calories, sugar, artificial flavoring etc. etc. in it ceases to be water, so how do they get away with it?

If they're getting away with it, you should at least entertain the notion that it's because they're not doing anything that they need to get away with. Do you have any good reason to believe that in order to be sold as water (from a legal standpoint), a product can contain no ingredients other than water?
posted by 23skidoo at 10:24 AM on March 9, 2008


I think this would fall under this FDA rule, which says the labeling would have to be "misleading".
posted by smackfu at 10:24 AM on March 9, 2008


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has published an article Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA that includes a FAQ. From the FAQ:
Can ingredients be added to bottled water?

Bottled water is defined in 21 CFR 165.110 as water that contains no added ingredients, except for optional antimicrobial agents or fluoride. Therefore, firms cannot add any other ingredients to their bottled water products and still call it "bottled water" (or "mineral water" or "purified water"). The name of a product with ingredients added must include the added ingredient, such as "bottled water with minerals added" or "bottled water with raspberry flavor." The resulting product is a multicomponent beverage and must bear an ingredient list on the label or labeling. If the water ingredient is highlighted as a bottled water, such as spring water, the water ingredient must comply with FDA's bottled water regulations.
According to 21 CFR 165.110 the regulated terms are "bottled water," "drinking water," "artesian water," "artesian well water," "ground water," "mineral water," "purified water," "demineralized water," "deionized water," "distilled water," "reverse osmosis water," "sparkling bottled water", "spring water," "sterile water," "sterilized water," and "well water."

However, the regulation specifically excludes the terms "water," "carbonated water," "disinfected water," "filtered water," "seltzer water," "soda water," "sparkling water," and "tonic water." Of these, the terms "sparkling water," "seltzer water," "soda water," "tonic water," or "club soda" are not included as bottled water under the FDA's regulations, because these beverages have historically been considered soft drinks and are regulated as such.

So, if you want actual water in a bottle, look for products that use one of the regulated terms in its name.
posted by RichardP at 10:41 AM on March 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


Vitamin Water is the brand name of the product, not a description of what the product contains, in the same sense that, as Jessica Simpson found out, Chicken of the Sea doesn't actually contain chicken. The description of the product seems to be "nutrient enhanced water beverage".
posted by sexymofo at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


A few years ago Debbie Flint, a well-known UK infomercial and ex-QVC presenter, began to market and distribute Penta Water in England. It was said to be 'restructured' water. Needless to say, the Advertising Standards Authority put a stop to it as its claims were unsupported and unsustainable under scientific scrutiny.
posted by essexjan at 11:01 AM on March 9, 2008


Remember Shakey's Pizza? It's "the world's best pizza", supposedly. I don't think so, but they're permitted to say that because it's a trademark and that phrase always appears with the "TM" symbol.

Trademarks can be utter lies. So can product names. There's a soft drink in Japan called "Pocari sweat". I dunno what a "pocari" is, but I do know they're not collecting sweat from it and bottling that for you to drink.

I'm reasonably certain that no alligators are used in the production of Gatorade.

A product can be named anything at all, as long as no one else has already trademarked the term within that market segment.
posted by Class Goat at 3:15 PM on March 9, 2008


I don't think so, but they're permitted to say that because it's a trademark and that phrase always appears with the "TM" symbol.

There's no exemption from other law because a TM symbol appears. If I trademarked "Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Not From Concentrate™" and put it on boxes of apple juice from concentrate, I'd be in big trouble.

Saying you have the best pizza is not a statement of fact. In fact, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Papa John's slogan of "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." was not a statement of fact, so cannot be misleading.

A product can be named anything at all, as long as no one else has already trademarked the term within that market segment.

That's totally wrong, sorry.
posted by grouse at 3:25 PM on March 9, 2008


Grouse, what is a pocari, and how do they get sweat from it?
posted by Class Goat at 3:42 PM on March 9, 2008


pocari is panther. Panther Sweat.
Real panther sweat probably tastes better.
(I don't know Japanese. Is it the wrong time of day?)
posted by hexatron at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2008


Not really sure what a pocari is, Class Goat, although I have to tell you I have never parsed that product name as saying that they are retrieving sweat from the pocari. I'm not really sure what that has to do with anything in my comment.
posted by grouse at 4:10 PM on March 9, 2008


Pocari Sweat, Wikipedia thereon.
posted by CKmtl at 7:51 PM on March 9, 2008


Grr, errant click.

Here.
posted by CKmtl at 7:52 PM on March 9, 2008


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