by Marion Nestle
Jan 17 2013

The FTC says no to POM Wonderful’s health claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just ruled that POM Wonderful’s claims for the health benefits of its pomegranate juices and products are indeed deceptive.

The FTC also said POM cannot claim that its products do anything special for heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction—unless it produces convincing evidence for these claims through two randomized, controlled clinical trials.


The dispute over POM’s health claims has gone on for more than two years.  The FTC says POM has not proved that drinking its juice will cheat death.

POM says it has spent $35 million on peer-reviewed research proving that the antioxidants in pomegranate products promote health.

Of course they do.  Antioxidants in all fruits and vegetables promote health.

Maybe POM should resort to the defense used by Coca-Cola against charges that Vitamin Water makes deceptive health claims.

As Stephen Colbert reports, Coca-Cola’s argues: “No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.”

Once again: health claims are about marketing, not health.

Expect POM to take the FTC to court over this ruling.  Stay tuned.

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  • Mary

    It’s ironic the pomegranate kept Persephone from cheating death. She ate the seeds, she had to stay in the underworld.

  • The pomengranate pigments and tannins are unique and can’t really be compared to other fruits and veges. Green tea epicatechins and tellimagrandins from rosa rugosa petals are the closest comparisons. I’d use the 4U brand myself, it’s not-from-concentrate and reasonably priced. Health claims seem to enhance the price of a healthy product, which makes it a less healthy product for poor people.

  • Link
    The theory destroys any reason for taking antioxidative nutritional supplements, because they “more likely cause than prevent cancer,” according to Nobel laureate James Watson, PhD, from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York.

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  • Junior Barnes

    If you are looking for more information on the VitaminWater case, there is an article here:

    The judge’s ruling can be found here:

    The quote is on page 35 of the document.

  • Craygor

    “… cannot claim that its products do anything special for … erectile dysfunction …”

    I don’t know about that, it’s bottle shape kind of gives me a “‘woody”.

  • Rudda

    I think the fact that a company can make such statements is absolutely absurd! I mean, it’s one thing to say it’ll help with cancer but stretching it to the point of cheating death? It’s not miracle juice…or i’d be drinking it right now.

  • Angelina Jullie

    Regarding all aspects the blog was perfectly nice.ppi claims handler