FTC says POM Wonderful overstates its powers


Pomegranate juice may have its attributes, but the Federal Trade Commission does not believe that they extend to “prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.” It is therefore asking POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice to tone down its advertising.

The FTC complaint also draws in the POMx line of supplements, and is being brought against POM Wonderful LLC.

“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’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.”

The advertising cited by FTC includes just about everything imaginable except broadcasting – newspaper, magazine, internet, newsletter, billboard, bus stop kiosks, packaging.

FTC cited claims such as “Backed by $25 million in medical research.  Proven to fight for cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health” and “30% DECREASE IN ARTERIAL PLAQUE … 17% IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW.” It also cited descriptions of pomegranate juice dramatically improving the health of prostate cancer victims.

FTC wants to take the unusual step of pre-approving POM health-related advertising messages, along with prohibiting any claims lacking solid scientific verification.

According to CNNMoney.com, POM doesn’t think its advertising is out of bounds. It says it is not claiming that its products function as drugs, and that the FTC is wasting taxpayer money pursuing the case.