F.T.C. issues complaint against POM Wonderful
September 28, 2010
WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission has issued an administrative complaint against the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements alleging false and unsubstantiated claims.
Specifically, the F.T.C. disagrees with claims the products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.
“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” said David Vladeck, director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made. Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”
Specifically, the complaint said POM Wonderful L.L.C., sister corporation Roll International Corp., and principals Stewart Resnick, Lynda Resnick and Matthew Tupper, violated federal law by making deceptive disease prevention and treatment claims. The complaint said the heart disease claims are false and misleading because many of the scientific studies POM Wonderful conducted did not show heart disease benefit from use of its products. Additional studies testing other touted benefits were allegedly not “blinded” or controlled or show POM Juice is more effective than a placebo.
The complaint establishes a proposed order that would prevent future law violations by requiring future claims to not be misleading and comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations for the claim.
“POM Wonderful fundamentally disagrees with the F.T.C. and believes that the commission’s allegations against POM are completely unwarranted,” the makers of POM Wonderful said. “Pomegranates are food — highly nutritious produce, designed by nature itself. Because POM products may in fact offer the promise of better health, we believe it is important to share the research results as they become available. This is especially true since our products do not carry the risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs. It’s a shame that the government is unable to understand this fundamental distinction, and instead is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate.
“We do not make claims that our products act as drugs. What we do, rather, is communicate, through advertising, the promising science relating to pomegranates. Consumers and their health providers have a right to know about this research and its results.”