Score one for the New Zealand schoolgirls.
Schoolgirls are celebrities after exposing Ribena
By Mike Steere and NZPA - The Press
Two Kiwi schoolgirls are worldwide celebrities after their school experiment forced an international pharmaceutical and food giant to admit it made false claims about vitamin C levels in Ribena.
GlaxoSmithKline, the second-largest food and drug company in the world, was yesterday fined $217,500 in the Auckland District Court after it admitted 15 breaches of the Fair Trading Act.
The case was brought by the Commerce Commission after a science experiment in 2004 by 14-year-old Pakuranga College schoolgirls Jenny Suo and Anna Devathasan raised questions about the vitamin C content in Ribena.
Jenny and Anna decided to look at vitamin C content in juice for the Manukau Institute of Technology science fair because "we were both going through a juice phase".
Jenny said the Ribena ready-to-drink product was one of the first of the juice products they checked the results for. "We just couldn't believe it. We thought we must have done it wrong," she said.
"We tested it another 10 times, and tested the syrup as well. The other products all came up with more vitamin C than they said, but not Ribena."
GlaxoSmithKline admitted its cartoned ready-to-drink Ribena, which it claimed had 7mg of vitamin C per 100ml, had no detectable vitamin C content.
The company also admitted it may have misled customers in advertisements saying the blackcurrants in Ribena syrup had four times the vitamin C of oranges.
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