Update - US: Pom Wonderful sticks to "health" claim guns
Pom Wonderful insists that it does not claim its products act as drugs
Pom Wonderful said it stands by the scientific research used to document the health benefits of its products, despite the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issuing a complaint against it for "false and unsubstantiated" claims.
The complaint, issued on Monday (27 September), charges that Pom Wonderful falsely claims its products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection said: "Any consumer who sees Pom Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled. When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made. Contrary to Pom Wonderful's advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that Pom Juice or Pomx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses."
However, in a statement yesterday, Pom Wonderful insisted that it does not claim its products act as drugs but that the company communicates, through advertising, the science relating to pomegranates.
"We stand behind the vast body of scientific research documenting the healthy properties of Wonderful variety pomegranates," a spokesperson for Pom Wonderful said. "Pom believes very strongly in its First Amendment rights to communicate the results of our extensive scientific research programme on pomegranates. We believe the commission is acting beyond its jurisdiction, exceeding its authority, and creating a new regulatory scheme that attempts to treat our juice as a drug, which it is not."
The firm added that the FTC is "violating Pom's constitutional rights to share useful and important information with the public", and so has initiated a separate lawsuit "to preserve these rights".
Earlier this month, Pom Wonderful filed a lawsuit in the US against rival drinks firm Welch's, arguing that Welch's labelling was a violation of the Lanham Act, which allows businesses to seek relief from competitors who are engaging in false advertising.
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