Schoolgirls Spill the Juice
A science experiment by two Auckland schoolgirls has resulted in a major lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the world’s second-largest food and pharmaceutical company. In 2004, Pakuranga College students Anna Devathasan and Jenny Suo (then 14) tested several big-name juice brands to ascertain their levels of vitamin C. They found that GSK’s Ribena contained almost no trace of the vitamin, despite its advertised claim that “the blackcurrants in Ribena have four times the vitamin C of oranges.” When the company dismissed the girls’ findings they took the matter to NZ’s Commerce Commission and the consumer affairs show, Fair Go. GSK appeared in the Auckland District Court on March 27 to face charges alleging 15 breaches of the Fair Trading Act. “It’s completely unbelievable,” said Suo in the NZ Herald. “It’s pretty crazy when you realise how much power you can have, as a kid as well.” Ribena has global sales of about $8 million per year.