Pastors Sues Coca Cola, Says Company Deceives Consumers of “Soda Health Risks”.

Two very prominent black pastors in the D.C. area, William Lamar and Delman Coates have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association.

In their lawsuit filed in D.C. Superior Court, accusations are made that the organizations knowingly deceive their black minority and consumers regarding the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages.  These drinks are the cause of black communities high rate of disease, diabetes and stroke both argued.

William Lamar, senior pastor at D.C.’s historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church told reporters that he is tired of presiding over funerals for church members dead from heart disease, diabetes and strokes while Pastor Delman Coates of Maryland’s Mount Ennon Baptist Church joins pastor Lamar in blaming soda marketing for the poor health of his D.C. parishioners, who are primarily black.

“It is becoming really clear to me that we are losing more people to the sweets than to the streets”, Pastor Coates said.

“There’s a great deal of misinformation in our communities, and I think that’s largely a function of these deceptive marketing campaigns” he further stressed.
Joined in the complaint is the Praxis Project, a public health group, who also alleges Coke and the beverage association intentional run campaigns to confuse their minority consumers about the causes of obesity.  This group filed a very similar lawsuit in California last year which was later withdrawn.

Studies have shown that obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and lower-extremity amputations are higher among blacks and minorities than among whites.  Due to higher soft drink consumption and adverts targeted at these groups, lawyers are trying to create a direct link and financial responsibility.

Even though there is increased awareness of the dangers of consuming too much sugar, from any product on a daily basis, and the beverage industry working to spread the word, these pastors, and other minority groups, want the beverage industry to suffer.

Do the pastors want fewer ads, a big warning label like the ones the tobacco industry puts on their product or the product to be pulled from the shelves all together?
The harm of cigarette smoking is well known, yet still about 1 in 5 African Americans smoke.  Even though that number is close to the same as whites, Hispanics are much lower at closer to 1 in 10, blacks smoke three times menthol cigarettes than whites. According to the American Lung Association, “The menthol in cigarettes has been found to make it both easier to start smoking and harder to quit.”