Policy-ish

Why The FDA Cares About A Fake Tiger Woods Label On Gatorade

A Colorado man just got in some very hot water with the feds for allegedly slapping his own labels on a bunch of Gatorade.

It's all fun and games to put the word "unfaithful" and a picture of Tiger Woods and his estranged wife on the Gatorade in your fridge. But if you put the relabeled stuff on store shelves, PepsiCo, the maker of Gatorade, and the Food and Drug Administration get a little bent out of shape.

How bent out of shape? Well, Jason Eric Kay, the guy the U.S. Attorney in Denver claims was behind such a stunt, got arrested Wednesday. The video below from KUSA-TV lays out the mystery Kay allegedly created.

There's no indication that Kay tampered with the Gatorade inside the bottles, according to the affidavit from the FDA agent who tracked him down. That wasn't hard by the way, because Kay's email address was on the bottles found in stores.

Kay, the agent wrote, considered the relabeling "pop art" and compared the work to the sort of thing Andy Warhol used to do. Kay acknowledged that his actions were "against the law," the affidavit says, but he didn't think they would get so much attention.

When the agent pressed Kay, saying he appeared to have violated the Federal Anti-Tampering Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, he replied, "I didn't think this was that big of a deal."

We tried to reach Kay at the telephone number in the affidavit. There was no answer and the mailbox was full.

So why may the guy soon face charges that carry potential fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars and several years in jail? "The consumer must have confidence that the labeling on the products they purchase has not been changed or altered in any way so that the information about the product is accurate," David Gaouette, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, said in a statement. "Once a label is illegally changed, all of the information on that label is put into question."

Finally, the U.S. Attorney reminds us that the "charges are only allegations" and that Kay is "presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."

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