July 30, 2021

FTC Upholds Trial Decision Against POM Wonderful LLC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s decision that the marketers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements deceptively advertised their products and did not have support for their claims. Ads claimed that the products could “treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, and that they were clinically proven to work.”

GavelThe FTC found that POM marketers made deceptive claims in 36 ads and promotional materials. That goes beyond Judge D. Michael Chappell’s May 2012 ruling that there were false or deceptive claims in 19 of the challenged items. Food Poisoning Bulletin told you about that ruling last year. A Final Order was issued that prohibits POM marketers from making any claim that their foods and supplements are “effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.”

POM Wonderful LLC owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick and Matthew Tupper filed an appeal against Judge Chappell’s decision last year. They argued that the FTC’s actions violated their First Amendment rights.

The deceptive ads appeared in magazines such as Parade, Fitness, Prevention, and in the New York Times. The vote approving the Opinion and Final Order was 5-0. In fact, Commissioner Maureen K. Ohihausen explained in a statement that she would “require extrinsic evidence to conclude that some of the exhibits conveyed the challenged disease-related claims rather than general health benefit claims” and that she would have required only one randomized clinical trial regarding disease-related claims as fencing-in relief in the final order.

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