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Consumer Law

Sugar Substitute Deal Turns Bitter

Posted Jun 8, 2007 9:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The makers of Equal and Splenda are squabbling over a confidential settlement in a false advertising suit.

Equal maker Merisant Co. asked the trial judge to enforce the settlement or enter the verdict, according to Associated Press. It claims its opponent failed to take certain actions as required by the agreement, the Legal Intelligencer reports.

For its part, Splenda maker McNeil Nutritionals claims its opponent violated confidentiality terms by publishing an ad that mentioned the settlement.

Lawyers agreed to a settlement on May 11 after jurors said they had reached a verdict in the case that centered on Splenda’s ad slogan, “Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar."

Equal had claimed the claim was misleading. The verdict was never announced, although one juror later said the award would have been “substantial.”

The latest ad that spurred the fighting has a headline that reads “Now Taste the Truth.” It refers to the settlement and offers a $2 Equal coupon.

Although the settlement amount is confidential, a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission suggests it is between $22 million and $31 million.

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