Food Safety

Published on January 6th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance


Distributor Sued for Selling Illegal Cane Sugar Sweetened Mexican Pepsi

Illegal in US, Mexican Pepsi is sweetened with cane sugar
I don’t drink sodas primarily because they contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  Apparently, I am not alone in my concern over HFCS, as cane sugar sweetened Pepsi and Coke from Mexico are desirable in the United States.  I’m not sure I would risk Montezuma’s revenge from Mexican water to drink a sugar cane sweetened soda from south of the border; however, the long term negative effects of HFCS may be far worse.  Unfortunately for natural soda lovers, Mexican Pepsi and Coke are illegal in the US.

PepsiCo has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Clayton Distributing Company in Georgia for violating trademark laws, committing fraud and engaging in deceptive, unfair trade practices by selling sugar cane sweetened, Mexican Pepsi in the United States.

PepsiCo defends its lawsuit, because the Mexican labels do not comply with Food and Drug Administration or PepsiCo standards for the United States.  “The Mexican product is neither authorized nor intended for exportation out of Mexico,” explained Pepsi in the lawsuit.  This is the second time Pepsi has filed lawsuit against a US distributor for selling sugar cane sweetened Mexican soda.

Why isn’t Pepsi made in the United States with sugar cane?  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Mexican versions of Coca-Cola and Pepsi have found a niche market in the United States both with Hispanic and non-Hispanic customers primarily because they use cane sugar as a sweetener. Most major beverage-makers switched to high-fructose corn syrup in the 1980s for their U.S. sodas, but the Mexican government has adopted policies that have encouraged the use of cane sugar in Mexico.

It sure makes one wonder about the power of the HFCS lobby.

Image: larry&flo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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About the Author

Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play ( "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog:

7 Responses to Distributor Sued for Selling Illegal Cane Sugar Sweetened Mexican Pepsi

  1. Jo says:

    That is INSANE! I wand Mexican Pepsi (and Dr. Pepper) like, now! I love this article – people have accused me of making up “Mexican Pepsi” since I was 10!

  2. Denise says:

    I wonder what Pepsi and Coke taste like with sugar rather than HFCS? I’ve gotten used to HFCS!

    By the way, processed foods from Mexico wouldn’t be something to worry about in regard to Montezuma’s revenge. It’s the tap water and produce you have to watch out for.

  3. LooneyJen says:

    Dr. Pepper manufactures a cane sugar sweetened version of its soda, generally found only in TX as it’s manufactured in Dublin, TX alone.

    And let me tell you, it’s awesome! Having had that, and the cane sweetened pepsi while in Mexico, I can attest that it’s sooo much better. A nice treat.

    Interestingly, I believe you can buy Coke flavored with cane sugar during Passover as I don’t believe corn is kosher at that time? Kosher Coke. Whatever they do to it, it tastes better, for sure. It has a cult following with a whole lot of people who aren’t Jewish, including myself. If you’re interested in giving it a try, look for two liter bottles with the yellow lids around passover.

  4. Paul Wells says:

    I live in Tucson AZ. One can find Mexican Pepsi and Coke all over down here in mexican owned grocery stores and restaurants. This is a much superior product to the swill they sell in the US I am old enough to remember the tasts of the cane sweetened beverages. The rate of juvenile diabetes has skyrocketed since the introduction of HFCS in soft drinks google HFCS diabetes link and see for yourself.

  5. Erin McBride says:

    Montezuma’s Revenge my @ss… I’d rather have a case of the runs than an incurable case of cancer.

  6. BThompson says:

    I know this is an old thread, but for folks out there who may still be reading this article, Pepsi from Mexico tastes far better than its United States counterpart. The reason why isn’t solely because of Mexico’s use of cane sugar in Pepsi, but it’s as if they use more of Pepsi’s flavoring which gives its “peppery” taste.

    Most people don’t know that you can find the same flavor and cane sugar sweetened version in Canada. The further north you go from the border (say in BC, north of Idaho, don’t grab any at the border towns, head at least 60 miles north of there) the more likely you are to find Pepsi with the “original” formula. Although it isn’t available in glass bottles up there to my knowledge, the best you can find are in the 20ml or so plastic bottles.

  7. Jason says:

    “Mexican Pepsi and Coke are illegal in the US.” As an expert on the subject, I can assure you this is not true. Mexican Coke is sold by adding FDA required labels as a sticker on the front of each bottle.

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