The label on Vimto Fruit Blast, manufactured by Nichols, said the drink contained 4.1mg of vitamin C per 100ml. But tests by regional authorities found no trace of the vitamin, according to the court case.
The product, designed for children, is sold under the same brand name as the original Vimto drink, promoted as a health tonic several decades ago.According to a PA report, company director Simon Nichols apologised for the 'labelling error' and said it had not been intended to mislead the public.
However the court heard that a routine spotcheck in October 2003 on the product showed it contained no vitamin C. Despite being told of the problem at that stage, the company took no steps to rectify it and two further checks on bottles bought in different places showed the drink still contained no vitamin C.
Last year Nichols announced that production of its soft drink brands, including Vimto, was to be outsourced.
The reports said that the firm carried out its own tests on the drink which is produced in Saudi Arabia but failed to have independent analysis done on it.