Pom Wonderful's bold ads for its pomegranate juice and supplement products are not legitimate treatment options for preventing or reducing the risk of serious health conditions including heart disease, cancer and even erectile dysfunction, ruled the courts last week.
Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell upheld findings in a complaint issued by the Federal Trade Commission against POM Wonderful, which claimed that the company's gimmicky marketing tactics were actually in violation of federal law.
The claims made by POM Wonderful, asserts the FTC, were deceptive, by making disease prevention and treatment claims like "Cheat Death," which could be perceived by consumers as based in fact and lead them to believe drinking the pomegranate juice products could actually prevent the onset of diseases or be used as a treatment instead of medicine.
In an interesting twist, POM Wonderful is claiming the judge's decision is actually a victory for the juice company, and will likely continue on with similar style health claims for its products.
Because the judge's ruling says the company can still make similar claims in the future (and just face another round of legal tangle if the FTC chooses to pursue action if they find missteps), the company says it is validated, especially in light of the $35 million the company has invested in scientific research in more than 70 peer-reviewed studies, which the company says demonstrates clear evidence that supports the product marketing claims. POM Wonderful will also not be required to conduct double-blind placebo-controlled studies like pharmaceutical companies are required to do in order to make their health claims.
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