Ads criticized that promote orange juice as cancer-fighter
May 24, 1997
Web posted at: 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 GMT)
ATLANTA (CNN) -- An ad touting the cancer-fighting benefits
of orange juice has some observers concerned that the public
may be misled.
"In health news, the American Cancer Society reports that
along with a healthy diet, drinking more Florida orange juice
may actually reduce your risk of some cancers," says the
narrator, in the role of a radio reporter.
The Florida Department of Citrus donated $1 million to the
American Cancer Society in exchange for the right to do the
ads. Some observers say they might make it appear that orange
juice has unique anti-cancer properties.
Orange juice does have vitamins that can help prevent some
cancers, but so do all sorts of fruits and vegetables, a
"That means all fruits and vegetables. It means broccoli, it
means cauliflower, it means carrots, it means tomatoes,
everything -- not just oranges and not particularly oranges
from Florida," said Marion Nestle, head of New York
University's nutrition department and a member of the cancer
society's nutrition committee.
"It seems to me the ads are not in the best interest of the
public. They can be easily misinterpreted to appear as if
orange juice cures cancer or prevents cancer, which it
doesn't," Nestle said. "It's one of a large number of factors
in the diet that can help to prevent cancer."
The American Cancer Society agrees oranges are no better than
many other fruits and vegetables, and say that's why they put
a phrase in the ad telling people to eat a healthy diet. The
narrator says it, and it is featured at the bottom of the TV
A spokesman for the cancer society said the ads are intended
to be about more than just orange juice.
"It's very clear in those ads that whenever we talk about
adding juices or fruit juices to the diet, we're talking
about it in the context of a healthy diet," Steven Dickinson
He said other food companies are free to make the same deal.
"There might be a partnership with another food group that is
well represented by our nutritional guidelines."
Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen contributed to this report.
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