In its discussion of PepsiCo’s newest soft-drink offering, a cherry-red version of Mountain Dew called “Code Red,” the New York Times places anti-soda activist Roland Griffiths squarely on the soap box. Griffiths tells the Times that the introduction of this new high-caffeine drink “makes you question the argument that they only add caffeine for the taste.” The Times’ in-depth look managed to include Griffiths’ research conclusions – he claims that consumers can’t tell the difference between regular soda and decaf varieties, and that soft drink manufacturers add caffeine solely to induce consumer addiction.
However, this article didn’t mention the fact that the National Institute of Drug Abuse (which funded Griffiths’ research) has firmly rebutted Griffiths’ claims of caffeine addiction, insisting that his sample group was too small to draw any real conclusions. In an earlier “study,” Griffiths drew criticism from the International Food Information Council for trying to prove caffeine addiction using a “sample size of only seven subjects,” including himself and six fellow researchers. For more information about the cultural war being waged against soft drinks, see our report, Hop on Pop.