On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported on the latest round of the Sugar v. Splenda fight (click here for the article). An initial hearing was scheduled for yesterday in the Central District of California regarding the suit five U.S. sugar companies — American Sugar Refining Inc., C&H Sugar Co. (owned by American Sugar), Imperial Sugar Co., Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Inc. and Western Sugar Cooperative (collectively "Sugar Companies") — brought against Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Nutritionals ("McNeil") which makes Splenda. Splenda is a sugar substitute which McNeil advertises with the tagline, "tastes like sugar." The Sugar Companies alleged that the "tastes like sugar" advertising campaign was false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act. And they further alleged that McNeil continued its advertisements despite knowledge that consumers were confused. McNeil countered that consumers were not misled by its advertisements.
The parties have engaged in various out-of-court disputes as well as this action and the two cases already settled, one in France and one in the United States. For example, the parties maintain opposing websites regarding Splenda: McNeil’s is www.splendatruth.com and the Sugar Companies maintain www.truthaboutsplenda.com.