POM Pomegranate Juice Not a Wonder Drug?

Apparently, pretended overpriced pomegranate juice is a magic healing elixir is more than the law will allow.

Apparently, pretending overpriced pomegranate juice is a magic healing elixir is more than the law will allow.

TIME (“POM, Not So Wonderful: Judge Rules Juice’s Health Claims Are Deceptive“):

A federal administrative judge ruled on Monday that the pomegranate juice maker POM Wonderful isn’t all that.

Judge D. Michael Chappell ruled that the company made deceptive advertising claims in marketing its popular pomegranate juice product as a way to “treat, prevent or reduce the risk heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction.” Chappell, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) chief administrative law judge, wrote in his decision: “The greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony demonstrates that there is insufficient competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate” such health claims made by POM.

The judge’s 335-page order upholds the majority of a complaint lodged by the FTC in 2010 against the Los Angeles-based company, owned by Lynda and Stewart Resnick. The order says POM Wonderful “shall not make any representation, in any manner, expressly or by implication, including through the use of a product name, endorsement, depiction, illustration, trademark or trade name, about the health benefits, performance or efficacy of any covered product, unless the representation is non-misleading.”

I had my suspicions, on account of it being a fruit juice, not a prescription drug. Alas, I’m not eligible for damages because I’m not willing to pay $6 for a tiny bottle of juice. At that price, there better be some alcohol in it, somewhere.

FILED UNDER: Food, Health, Law and the Courts, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Liberal Capitalist says:

    WHAT !!! It’s an O U T R A G E !!!

    How DARE government stand in the way between a snake oil huckster and his suckers!

    Once we have President Rob-mey in charge, we’ll have greater corporate freedom to avoid this type of insolent buffoonery!

    Harrumph, harrumph.

    Harrumph.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Actually, what’s even funnier is that if the drink actually *did* do all it claimed, the FDA could have come after them with all barrels blazing for not having obtained FDA permission to sell a drug.

    We females are constantly seeing this with make-up:
    Cosmetics company: This new serum will rejuvenate your skin! If you use it, you will never age! FDA: Really? How interesting! Tell us more…you have filed for your NDA, haven’t you?
    Cosmetics company: well, um, not really…

  3. Franklin says:

    I’ve had it once, it tastes pretty good (wasn’t trying it for the health benefits), but yeah the cost forbids buying it frequently. Alcohol would indeed be a good addition.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    There is a bigger and more serious story here: the supplements industry makes all kinds of de facto health claims all the time, promoting nonsense research in such a manner that real harm is being done. The American public, seeing that even POM can’t make health claims without running afoul of the FDA, assume that if the supplements companies are claiming something it must be true. Nothing could be further from the truth. In contrast, if I make a medical device or a drug I must prove safety and efficacy before bringing it to market and must continue to prove that I am making it exactly as it was designed and that quality standards are rigorously enforced. But if I make a supplement I don’t have to prove safety, I certainly don’t have to prove efficacy, I don’t have to deliver what was actually promised and I can make any ridiculous claim as long as I do so by referencing “scientific papers”. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I realize that a strict reading of the law contradicts the above, but in reality this is exactly how it plays out. Congress has made it abundantly clear they will go after the regulating agencies hammer and tongs if they make trouble for the supplements industry. Essentially the FDA has said “anyone stupid enough to take supplements gets what they deserve”.