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Science Fair Project Exposes GlaxoSmithKline Lies

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the fact-checking-advertisements dept.

Education 253

shadowspar writes "Despite claims made by GlaxoSmithKline that their Ribena soft drinks are high in Vitamin C, two New Zealand high school students found in their science fair research project that at least some formulations of the drink contained no detectable levels of the vitamin. As a result, GSK has been fined over $200,000 by the NZ Commerce Commission and ordered to run newspaper ads admitting that some of their drinks contain no Vitamin C."

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companies must think we are truly dumb. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18556457)

To think companies will put out products that we consume into
our bodies that do not contain the ingredients listed on the
can. Not quite the pet food disaster that happened to animals,
but it is getting closer.

Like i tell others, until babies die from baby food, no one
will string the company owners up to the nearest tree.

Seinfeld saw this coming (5, Funny)

QuantumHobbit (976542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556641)

Does anyone remember the episode of Seinfeld were the low fat yogurt wasn't low fat at all and the characters kept gaining weight. I say we put the Soup Nazi in charge of the FDA. He'd clean things up.

Re:Seinfeld saw this coming (4, Funny)

gooman (709147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557489)

"No FDA approval for you! Come back, one year!"

Re:companies must think we are truly dumb. (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556885)

Really, I remember quite good the glass in baby food (company was Gerber) in the late '80's and early '90's. I was still little back then and living in Europe, and even there we had reports of glass shards in baby food. Gerber seemed to try covering it up, but there were hundreds of reports in multiple COUNTRIES, and although the FDA said they didn't found any fractions harmful to babies, I believe that there was some heavy lobbying going on. But now we seemed to have forgotten all about it.

The NYT has this article from back in the days: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=hea lth&res=9A0DE3D71731F931A35750C0A960948260 [nytimes.com] and here is an essay on it including sources http://www.pillowrock.com/ronnie/gerber.htm [pillowrock.com]

Re:companies must think we are truly dumb. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557571)

until babies die from baby food, no one will string the company owners up to the nearest tree.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/11/11/10683295 64337.html?from=storyrhs [smh.com.au]

Dead babies: check
Strung-up execs: ....

But... it has electrolytes! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557753)

It has what plants need!

Advertisers lie? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18556475)

I'm shocked!

Old news (5, Informative)

basic0 (182925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556481)

"Slashdot. News for Nerds (two weeks after AP runs it and it appears on Yahoo's front page). Stuff that mattered."

Re:Old news (2, Informative)

laggist (784355) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556851)

the post above is not a troll.. this is really old! i've even read it on my local dailies, and my local food sciences body has just reassured everyone that GSK's ribena drink *is* indeed rich in vitamin C [channelnewsasia.com] (at least in Singapore, because we get stuff made in either Malaysia or the Philipines)..

Re:Old news ... Mod parent back up. (2, Insightful)

kale77in (703316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557077)

It's not trolling to point out that this was news at least 10 days ago. The Age in Melbourne last updated their story [theage.com.au] on May 21, though Google indexed it there [google.com.au] on the 20th.

Mod parent +2 Apology.

Re:Old news ... Mod parent back up. (1)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557171)

OP shouldn't complain unless he submitted the story 10 days ago and had it rejected.

Re:Old news ... Mod parent back up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557425)

The acception criteria sometimes is baffling. Just the other day I submitted one on the victory of Kaleidescape against DVD Consortium over their ripping software, which is a significant issue judging from daily DRM complaints on /., and it seems it had been rejected. I don't think it was because of Anonymous Coward either (you see anonymous submissions all the time). The victory could potentially open up DVD ripping softwares because the copyright issue wasn't even considered -- the requirement to disable unauthorized copying comes after the license is signed -- and the fair use clause allows copying for personal backups.

Re:Old news ... Mod parent back up. (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557477)

The quality of moderation has been on the decline as of late. Like the guy above who pointed this out, he was modded "Offtopic." When an article is posted,
commenting about the article is on-topic EVEN when it's not commentary that you personally like. Anyone should be able to figure this out. It is so obvious I can't believe it has to be explained to anyone with mod points.

Mods also need to figure out that anyone who vehemently disagrees is not "Flamebait" unless their primary purpose is to insult. But if they are using something resembling facts and logic, even if they're not G-rated nice, it's not flamebait.

For this reason I am almost harsh when meta-moderating, which I do anytime the opportunity comes up. I am tired of this shit; shitty moderation is how you ruin a site like this and because it doesn't happen all at once and in-your-face but happens gradually over time, people don't see it this way.


I fully expect to be modded Offtopic or Troll or Flamebait for "daring" to (again) call bullshit when I see it. My Karma is sitting at "Excellent" so do your worst and prove me right.

Re:Old news (1)

ran-o-matic (667054) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557507)

two weeks after AP runs it and it appears on Yahoo's front page
That's nothing. The current news blitz is only about the result of the court case. Those kids were both 14 in 2004 when they first found the lack of "C".

HAHAHAHAHA (2, Funny)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556497)

Pwned :) GSK Executives outsmarted by 14 year olds :)

Re:HAHAHAHAHA (2, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556513)

Only after thousands of consumers were cheated by GSK. $200k is pocket money.

Re:HAHAHAHAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557017)

Yeah. We would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids!

The shocking truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18556505)

This experiment tested for the existence of the vitamin vitamin C, but what these drinks actually contain is the musician/actress Vitamin C [imdb.com] !

Re:The shocking truth (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556817)

Well, what will they do when they run out of her? Go back to putting in vitamin C, I guess.

Brilliant. (4, Funny)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556515)

It's nice sometimes when the stream of stories about how multinationals are reaming us is interrupted with one flavoured by just desserts.

Also, the comeuppance is doubly sweet when it's underdogs. And who's more of an underdog than an intelligent high school student with an avid interest in science?

In the movie version, there would be a B-plot about the nerds winning the hearts of two pretty girls through the process. Maybe the girls are interns at GSK. I don't know. Hire Charlie Kauffman.

Erratum (2, Funny)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556541)

Yes, I see now that they're girls. I missed that. My Fark-brain filtered it out as some advert for a calendar girls site.

Re:Erratum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18556881)

Yes, I see now that they're girls. I missed that. My Fark-brain filtered it out as some advert for a calendar girls site.
That just makes your plot suggestion all the juicier:

In the movie version, there would be a B-plot about the nerds winning the hearts of two pretty girls through the process.
I'm thinking Bound [imdb.com] here.

Re:Brilliant. (5, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556791)

Plot summary of new movie: In "Erin Brockovich and the Operating System of Doom", Erin analyses Windows Vista and discovers it contains 98% hype and only 1% new usability. Soon, hired goons pursue her, trying to run her car off the road. A muscular Linus Torvalds, played by Vin Diesel, parachutes down unexpectedly and drops into her convertible, taking the wheel to perform spectacular stunt driving to evade the pursuers and their Stinger missiles. However, Linus and Erin are later captured and brought to the secret Washington state underground headquarters of an evil software magnate. He rocks back and forth in his chair as he strokes a white cat and boasts of his plans for world conquest through restrictive licensing and patent portfolios, and an alliance with the RIAA. In the end, Linus and Erin escape after Linus crashes the villains's servers by massively downloading emo music. In the closing scene, a massive volcanic explosion destroys Redmond because Linus has also rigged Windows Genuine Advantage to detonate every PC on campus at the same time.

No animals were harmed in the making of this movie. Directed by Jack Thompson.

Re:Brilliant. (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556859)

Comeuppance? Just desserts? Yeah, a $200,000 fine. It'll take them minutes, maybe even hours to make such a huge sum of money back. I'm sure that the next time they even think about deliberately lying to the public for decades upon decades, that fine will make them think twice!

Re:Brilliant. (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557793)

No, but the negative publicity might make them think again.

Re:Brilliant. (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557113)

This is a great example of why science should be taken out of highschools and substituted with bible study. We don't need our young people gettin' all booksmart and thinkin' they dun got themselves better than all'us in the bible belt of jebus.

Re:Brilliant. (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557501)

I love how the word 'multinational' has come to be derogatory. Almost like the word 'troll'.

Re:Brilliant. (1)

Wormholio (729552) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557729)

In the movie version, there would be a B-plot about the nerds winning the hearts of two pretty girls through the process. Maybe the girls are interns at GSK.
Except that if you RTFA you'll find that the two science fair students were girls.

I like their style (5, Interesting)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556519)

"and ordered to run newspaper ads admitting that some of their drinks contain no Vitamin C" This is far more damaging to them than a 200k fine. Its like virtually stick them in the stocks and publically embarassing them. I wish more laws resulted in this for companies rather than simple fines.

Re:I like their style (1, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557461)

Pfft. If you get caught doing something wrong, I'm sure you'll be required to do a lot more than put out an ad about it. For example, if you're caught driving while intoxicated, the judge is not likely to say you need to place a classified admitting you were driving drunk. Rather, he's likely to revoke you driving privileges for six months or so. Rather than token punishments, we should actually punish corporations for wrongdoing similarly. GSK ought to have it's privileges to sell consumer products revoked for six months or so. A real punishment that befits the crime.

Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their products (1, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556535)

thinking its a healthy alternative. Thats like thinking Coca Cola Zero is a healthy alternative to regular cola. No suger no, but still the same shit and even worse, Aspartime. Well, I think of it as Darwins Law in the consumer space.

sugar (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556601)

increases obesity (stroke, heart disease) and risk of diabetes. aspartame's real and clear dangers to your health are exactly what? the ideal is to stop drinking soft drinks altogether, we both agree to that. but if humpty dumpty is going to have a soft drink no matter what, and wants to choose between regular coke and coca cola zero, i'd rather he be drinking coca cola zero and avoid the sugar. in other words, yes, coca cola zero is a healthy alternative to regular coke. really. and i have no problem with coca cola marketing it this way. nor would anyone else without some bizarre chip on their shoulder. and no, i am not a shill for the coca cola bottling company. i'm a shill for common sense

Re:sugar (1, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556731)

sugar increases obesity (stroke, heart disease) and risk of diabetes.

Sugar does not cause or increase the risk of diabetes. That is a common myth. Failure of the pancreas encourages diabetes.

only in slashdot comments (0, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556757)

do you find out that bedrock medical facts are actually common myths

well, that and crackpot websites

Re:only in slashdot comments (4, Informative)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556781)

Sugar does not cause diabetes:

http://www.google.com/search?q=does+sugar+cause+di abetes [google.com]

You could say that sugar causes diabetes in the same way that cigarette lighters cause lung cancer.

sugar causes diabetes (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557193)

as in, the most common source of excess calories in the average person's diet is the trigger for insulin resistance when it happens, which is: the vast majority of the cases

therefore, you can say: sugar causes diabetes. fact

you want to be overly legal about it, and think you have a point to make

a proper analogy to this retarded conversation would be you saying that tobacco doesn't cause lung cancer

huh?

your point would be: tobacco, ignited and inhaled through the lungs over a period of time, increases your risk of lung cancer

oh, ok!

that would be the full force of your amazing insight that sugar doesn't causes diabetes

zzz

any other brilliant observations you want to make for us today?

truly, we couldn't live without your dramatic over literal analyzing

(snicker)

Re:only in slashdot comments (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557009)

Sugar also doesn't cause obesity - eating more calories than you use causes obesity. You are scaremongering with your comments. Sugar is not the root of all evil. It may well be a statistical contributor to the illnesses you cite, but it definitely doesn't contribute anywhere near as much as "lifestyle" choice. Want to cut your risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes? Get off your fat arse and do some exercise.

sugar causes obesity (0, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557143)

in combination with a sedentary lifestyle

the average lifestyle of most people

are you happy now? any other obvious assumptions implicit to the discussion you want to make with the full force of an insightful comment from out of the blue?

silly me, i did not know this thread was about marathon runners!

(snicker)

Re:sugar causes obesity (2, Interesting)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557411)

Actually, yes - I think i'd also like to address the implicit assumption that everyone in the world lives in the US. It may come as a surprise to you, but a sedentary lifestyle is actually NOT "the average lifestyle of most people" in the majority of the world.

I'm afraid i don't find your earlier comment very "insightful", particularly in view of this latest addition. It seems that what you're actually saying is that you can feel better about your sedentary lifestyle if you drink aspartame based drinks rather than sugar based ones. And possibly improve your risk factors slightly too. But thats about as insightful as suggesting that walking down the middle of a freeway "with the flow of traffic" is safer than going "against the flow of traffic". Its true, but it wilfully ignores the real risk.

Oh, and this thread is not about marathon runners. Nor even about health freaks. Its about the benefits of a sensible lifestyle. And how in the context of such a lifestyle the choice "sugar or aspartame?" is about as important as "red tie or green tie?".

Re:only in slashdot comments (0)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557343)

Exercise has no discernible effect on weight loss. Your body burns anywhere from 1500 - 2500 (depending on size, metabolism, etc.) doing nothing all day. Every pound of fat is worth about 3500 calories.
Running for an hour is worth something like 800 calories.

So to lose one pound, you would have to run just under 4 1/2 hours.

Alternatively, you could choose carefully what you eat and avoid the calories in the first place. And you don't have to exercise (even though exercise has other benefits). But the core is, don't exercise to lose weight, you will be disappointed.

Re:only in slashdot comments (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557539)

> But the core is, don't exercise to lose weight, you will be disappointed.

If try to lose weight by any other means you'll be a hell of a lot more disappointed. Doesn't matter which way you look at it, if you want to lose weight you're going to have to burn it off. Or have it surgically removed. And assuming your maths is right, 45 mins running per day should see you lose 1 pound of fat per week, or 52 pounds of fat per year. I'd say that was a *very* discernible effect on weight loss. Especially if you couple it to a slight change in diet. And it would be a lot more effective than just starving yourself.

I agree completely with avoiding the calories in the first place, though.

Re:only in slashdot comments (1)

cjmt (967208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557555)

Exercise has no discernible effect on weight loss.
This is a myth perpetuated by the idle.

Your body burns anywhere from 1500 - 2500 (depending on size, metabolism, etc.) doing nothing all day. Every pound of fat is worth about 3500 calories.
Running for an hour is worth something like 800 calories.

So to lose one pound, you would have to run just under 4 1/2 hours.

So, 1 hours running etc per day = 800 calories * 5 days a week (say) = 4000 calories/week = 208,000 calories/year = 59.42lb/year. Negligible? Not to mention the weight loss due to elevated metabolic rate caused by higher levels of fitness and activity, the increased energy levels etc, etc..

Re:only in slashdot comments (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557563)

This whole thread is a little absurd, so I had to chime in somewhere. Excercise will definitely have an effect on weight loss. For example, using your numbers, say you run an hour every day. At this rate, keeping your caloric intake constant, you will lose 1.5 pounds a week. This is a pretty healthy loss rate - most doctors will tell you not to lose more than 2 pounds per week. (Aside: I don't think you are likely to actually burn 800 calories for an hours run... probably less.) Note also that exercising will increase your metabolic rate for hours afterwards. Also, there are people who have a low caloric intake but still can't seem to lose weight. For these people it would probably be dangerous to eat less -- the best option here is exercise. So it's true you don't HAVE to exercise to lose weight, but you're going to be better off if you do.

As to other comments in this thread, doctors might not really know what causes insulin resistance, but I wouldn't tempt fate by eating a bag of sugar a day. Still, I'd choose high fructose corn syrup over trans-fats.

Re:sugar (3, Informative)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557059)

Still excess sugar leads to obesity which, in genetically susceptible people, can trigger glucose intolerance (glucose remains high on the blood for a long time after eating) or Type II Diabetes.

Re:sugar (2)

Pyrrhic Diarrhea (1061530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556865)

in other words, yes, coca cola zero is a healthy alternative to regular coke

Is that your idea of healthy? If so, advertising has won. A better reality would involved an informed consumer having a more precise idea of what he was consuming, rather than just blithely accepting that Cola A is better than Cola B. I know that ingredients are listed on virtually everything that is sold to consumers in the US, and that we typically know what is "good" or "bad" for us, but many people don't take the time to investigate what they are eating. Is this a case for Big Brother to intervene? Intervention could be by defining what may be listed as "healthy", "organic" or "natural", or whatever is deemed most appropriate by a credible, authortative agency--not by the company seeking to increase their sales revenues.

Most states compel drivers to wear a seatbelt. Leaving off whether or not that is preferable, if they can compel compliance with seatbelts, why not a little more supply-side compliance with legitimate health claims?

I agree that people should take accountability for what they consume, but being that we are increasingly lazy (intellectually especially), most people just take what they are given without question. The thinking is that "the government watches stuff like this, right? So, it can't be too bad." Rinse and repeat. That's how we end up with poor public health.

The ill effects of Aspartame can be found at (obligatory wiki)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_contro versy [wikipedia.org] .

More information on Aspartame: http://www.webmd.com/search/search_results/default .aspx?query=aspartame [webmd.com]

the ill effects of aspartame (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557301)

are miniscule compared to the ill effects of excess sugar

therefore, yes, coca cola zero is a healthy ALTERNATIVE to regular coca cola

i said, ALTERNATIVE

is coca cola zero healthy? of course not. this is what i said, if you had taken thte time to read my whole 10 second comment:

"the ideal is to stop drinking soft drinks altogether, we both agree to that. but if humpty dumpty is going to have a soft drink no matter what, and wants to choose between regular coke and coca cola zero, i'd rather he be drinking coca cola zero and avoid the sugar"

if humpty dumpty has a sweet tooth, i am well and happy for him to reach for coca cola zero than regular coca cola, that's my point. that's the beginning of point, that's the end of my point. and even so, i say it would be superior frr him to avoid soft drinks altogether

therefore, the entirety of your diatribe is completely off base, as it doesn't react to what i actually said. you didn't mentally parse the difference between "healthy, period" and "healthy alternative" before going off on your tangent. please read my actual comment next time, then respond, rather than respond with a half-perception of what someone said and paint them as saying something that they never actually said. i, in fact, said that which already agrees with your entire diatribe:

"the ideal is to stop drinking soft drinks altogether"

that's what i wrote. so i actually agree with you

therefore: kindly actually READ what someone wrote next time, then hit submit

otherwise, you look like a hysterical nitwit

Re:sugar (2, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557325)

[sugar] increases obesity (stroke, heart disease) and risk of diabetes.
Sugar is a natural part of our diet.

aspartame's real and clear dangers to your health are exactly what?
About 10% of ingested aspartame (by weight) is converted to methanol, which turns into formaldehyde. Our bodies can handle small quantities of formaldehyde, but it's definitely not good for us.
About 40% of it is converted to aspartic acid. Aspartic acid is tolerated at low levels, but if it spikes to high levels (as it does when aspartame is consumed and absorbed quickly, as in a beverage) it is an excitotoxin [wikipedia.org] , potentially causing nerve and brain cell damage.
Relation to cancers of various sorts are implied by some, but are largely unproven. Studies on humans show no cancer increase, but because aspartame is hardly a quarter century old, there does not exist a human population over age 40 (the age range where they look for cancer correlations) that has had a life-long exposure to it. Studies with rats show increase in some cancers in correlation with aspartame ingestion starting at a young age. It'll be about 2020 before a meaningful study of lifelong aspartame consumption and cancer can be made.

Basically, what it comes down to is that aspartame does turn into harmful substances in the body, but that the effect is probably entirely dependent on the individual's health and the quantity consumed.

Sugar is just sugar. Like any other nutrient, overindulgence causes problems. Personally, I'll stick with sugar and monitor my consumption, rather than lavishly indulging my sweet tooth with a mildly toxic artificial sweetener that may or may not be too much for my liver and brain to handle.

Re:sugar (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557363)

sugar substitutes trick the body into thinking it is getting something sweet and therefor only continue the typical sweet-tooth addiction. Also, apparently there is quite a controversy [wikipedia.org] over the health risks of aspartame, with things like lymphoma and brain tumours being brought up. That's fun!

So you can either maintain your craving for sweets and guzzle large amounts of possible carcinogens to get your fix, slip back into excessive sugar usage, or perhaps GET OFF THE SWEETS.

I agree that excessive sugar consumption is bad, and I don't have the necessary medical knowledge to evaluate the controversy over the substitutes myself. But I do know that if you stop eating really sweet stuff all the time, you lose your taste for it entirely, which is ultimately far better. So if people had to choose between dropping the sweets or getting fat, maybe that's not entirely a bad thing. Honestly I'm not sure. But I would object to aspartame being categorized as unequivocably "safe".

Re:sugar (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557623)

Aspartame kills brain cells, especially developing ones (think kids). Aspartame is also classified by many chemists as a poison.

Re:sugar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557777)

IIRC, Aspartame has (is?) even been listed/classified as a neuro-toxin (or a similar label) by the US Government.. If I'm not mistaken this is how it was labeled by the DoD.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (5, Insightful)

QuantumHobbit (976542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556609)

There's this new drink called Orange Juice that claims to have even more Vitamin C. Scientists call it a break through in food science. There was a point were food scientist stopped producing useful foods like orange juice, peanut butter, and cornflakes, and started making consumers feel better about eating crap. I think it occurred about when the US became the fattest nation on Earth. PS. I like to think of Coke Zero as a tastier Diet Coke rather than a healthier Coke Classic. None of them are good for you, but two have fewer calories.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (2, Interesting)

Pyrrhic Diarrhea (1061530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556635)

Most of the stuff we eat these days is less actual "food" and more highly processed combinations of carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients. High fructose corn syrup is horribly bad for you, yet it is usually the first ingredient in many beverages, syrups, etc. I've even seen it in KFC "honey" packets. In case you're wondering, honey is the third ingredient in their honey, behind the HFCSyrup and Sugar. Truth in advertising is nearly as false as truth in labelling, there being little in the former and none in the latter. And, from TFA, the GSK spinmaster stated "The fact some of our products had incorrect labelling is to us, unacceptable, and we sincerely regret any confusion caused to customers who feel they may have been misled." What utter horseshit. The fact that this ex post facto misrepresentation of what is obviously a premeditated marketing decision is allowed to be fobbed off as a mistake is, IMO, why diabetes (et al) is so rampant now. No (or little) accountability for misleading the public and making false health claims should not be tolerated, ever. If the purpose of government is to serve the welfare of the people, this should be high on the list of priorities. Instead, a $200K fine is the response. If anyone has figures on what the profit would have been from this false claim, I'd be interested in seeing it. The fine should be more than their profits, that way it would actually serve as a deterrant, not just to GSK but to every other company. Sorry for the rant.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556679)

1) eat organic, im lucky to live in a place where the BIG chain stores have a policy of over half of their stock is organic and fair trade. 2) grow and or make you own Ever notice how peoples teeth in so called 3rd world / developing countries are better than the west. Until that is when America invades then Coca Cola and the cigerette companies get in there as part of "restructuring" and "development" then their health goes to pot.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (2)

WaterDamage (719017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556847)

Ever notice how peoples teeth in so called 3rd world / developing countries are better than the west.

HA! I don't think you've ever been in a 3rd world country! Some people in less prosperous counties have very good genetics but their tooth quality fades VERY quickly due to lack of fluoride supplementation and lack of funds for quality dental care as well as lack of good dentists. Organic food is GOOD for you and it probably will keep you healthier in the long run but don't confuse this with good dental hygiene and tooth quality.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556909)

Yes and most of your toothpaste contains flouride (amongst other nasties), nasty stuff that. I use what alot of people there use, natural solutions, they do clean their teeth you know, except with NATURAL ingredients found in the environment there. You think your smarter than nature? Im not.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (2, Insightful)

LihTox (754597) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557015)

I wouldn't count TOO much on nature; human's natural lifespan seems to be "long enough to reproduce and raise children", with a high infant mortality rate (and a correspondingly high pregnancy rate too). Civilization is good for some things....

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557167)

Wait... Fluoride isn't natural? Fluoride is a pretty common rock, it shows up about everywhere... Some water is even naturally fluoridated... Imagine that.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557295)

Some water is naturally filled with rotting vegetable matter and fecal contaminants too, does that mean you want to drink it?

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (2, Funny)

trentblase (717954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557645)

Yes, I am totally smarter than nature. Nature wants me to sleep in the rain and be eaten by wild coyotes. By living in a house where the coyotes can't get me, I have effectively outsmarted nature. SMRT.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (1)

WaterDamage (719017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557119)

You keep nagging on using Organic/Natural supplementation, but you're completely missing the point. I never said you SHOULD NOT use supplementation. The point I'm making is that people in 3rd world countries hardly get ANY supplementation regardless whether Organic or synthetic and they don't get quality dental care. I worked in the medical field so I'm familiar in this field. You haven't come forward with your source of information and supporting data to prove otherwise.

Re:Only a numpty (most consumers) buy their produc (1)

KingArthur10 (679328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557691)

Friends from my military base have been deployed to MANY third world countries. Our medical squadron in particular is active in humanitarian relief, and you know what is the most requested operation in most of these villages? That's right, tooth extraction. They know that their teeth will fall out due to rotting at some point in time, so they actually request to have all of their teeth removed. This is true in both Central/South America and Africa. We don't dabble much in the eastern countries, but the true third world is in Africa and Latin America, and tooth quality is atrocious. Please don't spout your organic drabble all over the place. "Organic" foods (aren't almost all foods technically organic?) are nice and all, but when you have to feed a hunger-ridden nation, GE foods are the only ones that can feed the millions without. Without some of our synthetic compounds, the poor would be in much worse condition than they already are.

For a refreshing time... (1)

continuouslife (934428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557521)

....make it Aspertime!

The same pair also discovered... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18556537)

...that Country Time Lemonade contains no trace of lemons.

Re:The same pair also discovered... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556861)

And that Kool Aid has no trace of Kool (although it may contain other things [wikipedia.org] .)

And.... (5, Funny)

Tilzs (959354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556587)

I would've gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling kids.

Re:And.... (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557217)

Kudos to the kids for discovering this... but why the frak did it take a school science project to figure out the ingredients weren't as advertised?

Re:And.... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557255)

Damn, you beat me to it. I think we need a "meddlingkids" tag. :)

They sort of told the truth (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18556607)

I heard an interview with one of the girls. When they first tried to contact the company, they were stonewalled so they started contacting other people and the next thing they knew was they were on the international news.

For a company to ignore even fourteen year olds and hope they will just go away is really dumb. Better to deal with the problem before it gets big.

Anyway, what I understood the company to have said was something like: "The berries that this product is made from have more vitamin C than orange juice." The problem being, of course, that none of the vitamin C made it into the product.

Re:They sort of told the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557055)

A strict interpretation of the language of the advertisement does seem to indicate that they didn't actually lie.

However, it was clearly extremely and deliberately misleading, which is, in most places, enough to require withdrawal of the ad, and possibly sanctions. The sad thing is, it's rarely enforced, and penalties and bad PR are pretty minimal - an unintentionally offensive ad will bring less bad PR than a deliberately misleading one.

Only $200k? (3, Interesting)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556617)

They've been selling Ribena for decades under the advertising that it was high in vitamin C. Hell, my grandma used to tell us to drink it. So unless this is a new zealand local recipe thats at fault, i'm sorry, but an inconsequential fine and an apology in a newspaper in a country of 4.1m people really isn't enough - they've been deceiving the purchasing public in several countries for a long time.

Re:Only $200k? (1)

FlunkedFlank (737955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556971)

According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

"GlaxoSmithKline maintains that the issue only affects Australia and New Zealand and that Ribena sold in other markets such as the United Kingdom contain the levels of vitamin C stated on the product label."

Re:Only $200k? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557013)

They've been selling Ribena for decades under the advertising that it was high in vitamin C. Hell, my grandma used to tell us to drink it.

      Now the other side of the coin is that Vitamin C is one of the most overhyped vitamins ever. Small amounts are neccessary for the production of healthy tissue, and that's about it. There is no medical evidence that it helps prevent or cure colds, etc. And a balanced diet provides more than enough Vitamin C.

This is one of my favorites... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557129)

This is one of my favorites:

http://www.brachs.com/products/product.asp?base_co de=171 [brachs.com]

Brach's sells candy as a health food because they used some Vitamin C to add tartness. I actually saw a package in the store a few months ago with big writing saying "Vitamin C!", "NO FAT!".

Next... (4, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556619)

Rumours also abound over the amount of cocaine in 'coke'. There may be no mountains or dew in Mountain Dew and no pepper in Dr Pepper. The manufacturers of the French beverage Pschitt [pschitt.fr] were unavailable for comment.

PS: Visit the Pschitt site - the intro's a riot!

Re:Next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557001)

Funny, but most people don't even bother reading the labels to see what they're eating. There might be no sun in SunnyD, but there sure is a whole lot of sugar and even oil (not only the contents by the taste is also disgusting)! Just because they add a bit of vitamin C to a drink that's absolute crap doesn't actually make it good for you...

you. Just like those cereal ads "made from whole grains" and such -- never mind there's basically NO FIBER AT ALL in it (just read the f'n label). Lots if not most of the advertizing and names is misleading.

Not just the intro (1)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557163)

Thanks for the site recommendation. It is indeed quite amusing and not just the intro. Go on in and look around. The site is mostly in French but there are menu options on the main page for "Pschitt Yourself", "Pschitt Attitude" and "My Pschitt."

Surely those are intentionally done in English because of the obvious effect.

Re:Next... (1)

dufachi (973647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557409)

Wow, you can even click on "Pschitt Yourself!" once into the site. How romantic is that?

Re:Next... (1)

VValdo (10446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557625)

Rumours also abound over the amount of cocaine in 'coke'. There may be no mountains or dew in Mountain Dew and no pepper in Dr Pepper.

So long as I'm getting my daily minimum of grapes and nuts from Grape Nuts, I don't see the problem...

W

Re:Next... (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557687)

There may be no mountains or dew in Mountain Dew

There is, however, orange juice. I remember the moment I saw this on the can as a kid. It totally ruined the drink for me.

This is just stupid (5, Insightful)

Yurka (468420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556705)

Ascorbic acid costs literally pennies; you can pick up a pound of the stuff retail at less than 15 dollars, and we're talking 7 milligrams in each bottle. What the heck were they thinking?

Re:This is just stupid (3, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557099)

Basically in the early 1990's Ribena corporation realized that their profits were declining to the soda giant Schweppes, and because of all the money they wasted on ads with a black man dressed in purple who squeezed Ribena drinks, who's catchphase was "Ribena. Squeeze it."
They discovered that Ribena was only ever consumed when force-fed to children by parents, or to OAPs by their caretakers; no-one was drinking it out of their own free will anymore.

When Schweppes began hinting that they were developing their own water flavoring syrup which wouldn't taste like dentist mouth-wash Ribena corp adopted a policy of aggressively closing the target market.

This is why Ribena is marketed as a teeth friendly drink, containing your daily vitamin-C requirement; Ribena want to give as many children ruined smiles and scurvy as possible. They hope that no-one will notice only Ribena drinkers are getting scurvy, and thus that more people will start drinking vitamin-C rich Ribena in an effort to combat the ensuing scurvy plague.

Re:This is just stupid (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557529)

That they'd get away with it?

it's also pretty funny that (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556711)

"coca cola" contains no cocaine

but, even "cocaine [drinkcocaine.com] " contains no cocaine

next up, bolivian aymara indian coca leaf tea is actually ma huang

Re:it's also pretty funny that (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557509)

Coca Cola may not list cocaine on the label, but they do still use the coca leaf as part of their "secret forumula".

Quoth the maven [wikipedia.org] :

Today, the flavoring is still done with kola nuts and the "spent" coca leaf. In the United States, there is only one plant (in New Jersey) authorized by the Federal Government to grow the coca plant for Coca-Cola syrup manufacture.

A dangerous game (0, Flamebait)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556717)

Note that if the high schoolers had been wrong, then after taking their claims to the press, they could have been found liable for defamation. While GSK might not sue high school students, they *might* sue an adult who made similar claims.

A better way to go about this is, if you're not an expert in a field but you discover something along these lines while dabbling, find someone who *is* an expert to retest your discovery before you go to the press.

Not to rain on your parade (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556761)

But testing for vitamin C is not exactly cutting edge science.

What is in fact amazing about this story is that nobody has ever checked it before, you would expect food safety regulators to actually enforce the mandatorry labels by checking that what is inside them, is inside them.

Not that I ever heard of the drink, is this because the drink is not actually allowed in places were the goverment DOES check the contents of food products?

Why hasn't the NZ goverment found this out before, we know why the US goverment hasn't, but I didn't think NZ was as corrupt, sorry, properly concerned with the interest of big business to let this slide for so long.

Re:A dangerous game (5, Informative)

simulacrum25 (664049) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557121)

For those who read the article,

The students *didn't* take their findings to the press. They turned their findings into the Commerce Commission who launched an investigation.

Testing for vitamin C (2, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557215)

It's Ascorbic Acid. Litmus paper would readily indicate it's presence. If they found the drink to be neutral pH, then someone with better equipment can actually verify the amount in the drink. Pretty simple.

Re:A dangerous game (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557259)

After all, we all see how successful the RIAA has been in it's efforts to sue students. Unlike the RIAA, which is an umbrella group, so it you want pop music you have to deal with the devil, GlaxoSmithKline is a highly competitive bussiness, probably spending more on marketing than R&D.

Just look at the GSK work in Africa. They are basically giving away Globorix in a PR campaign to win entry to that market. I seriously doubt such a company would not waste time suing children.

Obligatory (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556723)

Better not let those kids near our Slurm factory! "It's highly addictive!"

didja notice the context sensitive ads.. (2, Funny)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556747)

free glaxo kline samples!

I love reading multiple articles (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556751)

Article 1: the pair says the corrective advertising is a positive result.

"I think it's good that they at least admitted it and didn't try and say we were still wrong," Jenny [Suo] says.


Article 2: The two girls said they were pleased with the sentence, but thought the company should have been ordered to run TV ads as well, they told the New Zealand Herald.

Kids and parents are more likely to see television ads, [Jenny] Suo said.


I imagine if you read another 3 or 4 articles, various other details will come together.

Sarbanes-Oxley for food content? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556775)

CEOs should have to sign off on the known effects, content and safety of their products. Including alcohol, medication, supplements and cigarettes.

Jail time should be automatic for lying.

new ads (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556777)

The new Ribena-C (minus C)

We need more (5, Insightful)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556803)

of these kids and we need to really need to get our sorry asses in gear and stress more sciences in school. We really will be saved by our youth.

They should have fined them more. (2, Insightful)

WaterDamage (719017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18556939)

1. Make a product. 2. Lie to consumers by making false claims. 3. Make millions/billions in revenue and profits. 4. Executives laugh at the fine imposed and gladly pay $200,000 fine. 5. Pull product off shelves. 6. Profit! 7. Goto line 1 next quarter!

How? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557019)

Neither article says how they did it. I'm assuming they did a simple titration, like undergraduate General Chemistry teaches?

This is great news for me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18557263)

I live a couple of miles away from the factory where, to the best of my knowledge, the entire world supply of Ribena comes from [google.co.uk] . If everyone stops buying it, the whole area will be plunged into poverty and despair, and I might be able to afford to buy a small hovel in the corner of a field somewhere.

Finally we get #2 (1)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557279)

1) Drink Ribena as your only source of Vitamin C

2) get scurvy

3) PROFIT!!!!

Now If Only Scientific Method Taught USA Schools (1)

cannuck (859025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18557757)

Great story on the importance of understanding what the SCIENTIFIC METHOD is and HOW TO APPLY IT.

Makes me wonder if CORPORATE USA is putting up all the money to push (UN)intelligent (MISS)design into the school system. You know --"keep them dumb and pregnant".

"Only LEMMINGS would need a scoring system (in Slashdot) to decide what they want/need to read. Scoring was brought into the American schooling system to replace whipping for getting the wrong answer."

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