truth in advertising

POM Wonderful Sued by FTC

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 27, 2010 06:00 PM

US Federal regulators today sued the maker of POM Wonderful, the pomegranate-based juice, claiming that its ads, such as the one above, are deceptive. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the Federal Trade Commission move comes as part of a widening effort by the US government "to clamp down on food ads that tout healthy benefits."

The FTC charges that Pom's advertisements for its Pomegranate Juice and its POMx supplements contain "false and unsubstantiated claims that their products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction."

The complaint is directed towards ads that say the juice has "super health powers" and claim specific health benefits, such as "proven to fight for cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health."

Another ad cited by the FTC claims that the drink leads to a "30% decrease in arterial plaque" and "17% improved blood flow."

POM has defended its ads, and promotes its website, Pomegranate Truth, as a consumer resource for debunking any claims that its products are less than they say. In March, the company said: "All statements made in connection with POM products are true and supported by unprecedented scientific research."

The FTC suit stipulates that to "prevent future law violations," any future claims that the pomegranate-based brand "cures, prevents, treats, or reduces the risk of any disease" be substantiated as true and comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations for the claim.

Since receiving a warning in February from the FDA about its claims. The brand's recent messaging, particularly via Facebook and Twitter, appear to focus more on recipes and the products' taste and flavor.

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