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FTC Upholds Decision Against POM Wonderful on Deceptive Health Claims

The Federal Trade Commission this week upheld an earlier decision that POM Wonderful juice and POMx supplements made deceptive claims about treating, preventing or reducing the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.

The FTC found that the company made deceptive claims in 36 advertisements and promotional materials, which goes beyond a ruling last May by an administrative law judge that found the company made false or deceptive claims in 19 cases. The Commission approved the decision 5-0.

In a final order from the FTC, POM is barred from making any claim that a food, drug or dietary supplement is effective in treating or preventing diseases unless the claim is supported by two randomized, well-controlled human clinical trials. The agency also expressly prohibits the company from misrepresenting studies or research about the health benefits of food, drugs or supplements.

According to the FTC, the challenged ads appeared in national publications such as Parade, Fitness, The New York Times and Prevention magazines; on Internet sites such as pomegranatetruth.com, pomwonderful.com, and pompills.com; on bus stops and billboards; in newsletters to customers; and on tags attached to the product.

“POM Wonderful categorically rejects the FTC’s assertion that our advertisements made any misleading disease treatment or other health claims,” the statement read. “This order ignores what $35 million of peer-reviewed scientific research, centuries of traditional medicine and plain common sense have taught us: antioxidant-rich pomegranate products are good for you.”

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

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