Updating the story below, POM Wonderful makes the news again.
Despite objections from POM, the commission upheld a decision from an internal FTC judge that POM was deceptive in saying its products had been clinically proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and other ailments.
POM and the FTC have been wrangling over the issue for more than two years.
The FTC commissioners, in issuing their order, found that 36 advertisements were deceptive. The FTC judge had earlier found false or deceptive claims in 19 advertisements or promotional materials.
A questionable part of this story is that they undertaking their own research to prove their claims. Conflict of interest? You bet. Such a thing is done all the time for these types of “natural” products.
Originally published May 21, 2012
FTC is doing their job again. Their complaint regarding deceptive advertising for pomegranate products was upheld.
Administrative Law Judge Upholds FTC’s Complaint that POM Deceptively Advertised Its Products as Treating, Preventing, or Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease, Prostate Cancer, and Erectile Dysfunction.
ALJ Ruling: Some Health Claims for Pomegranate Products Were False and Not Supported by Scientific Evidence
In an Initial Decision announced today, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell upheld a Federal Trade Commission complaint, and ruled that POM Wonderful LLC, its sister corporation Roll Global LLC, and principals Stewart Resnick, Lynda Resnick, and Matthew Tupper violated federal law by making deceptive claims in some advertisements that their POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements (POM products) would treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.
An order Judge Chappell issued with the Initial Decision would bar the POM respondents from making any representation about the “health benefits, performance, or efficacy” of POM products or any other food, drug, or dietary supplement – unless the representation is not misleading, and the POM respondents possess “competent and reliable scientific evidence . . . to substantiate that the representation is true.” It also would bar them from representing that any such product “is effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease,” including treating, preventing, or reducing the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, or erectile dysfunction – unless the representation is not misleading, and the POM respondents possess “competent and reliable scientific evidence . . . to substantiate that the representation is true.” The order also would bar the POM respondents from misrepresenting “the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test, study, or research.”
Tip: The Consumerist
Well, yay. Along with all these many fruit and vegetable products that promise natural goodness and well being, pomegranate had become
pompular very popular. So, have it in your martini for flavor but don’t count on the health benefits. Those claims are sour.
The ads appeared in national publications such as Parade, Fitness, The New York Times, and Prevention magazines; on Internet sites such as pomtruth.com, pomwonderful.com, and pompills.com; on bus stops and billboards; in newsletters to customers; and on tags attached to the product. POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice is widely available at grocery stores nationwide. POMx pills and liquid extract are sold via direct mail.