The Federal Trade Commission said that claims made on behalf of the pomegranate, such as its abilities in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and prostate cancer, were very much a stretch. The company, POM Wonderful, and one of its former execs, have agreed to cease and desist from making such claims in the future.
Mark Dreher, Ph.D. was Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs until May of 2009, is specificied in the agreement, which did not carry any monetary forfeitures. FTC said the order “…bars Dreher from making any disease treatment or prevention claim in advertising for a POM Wonderful product unless the claim is not misleading and comports with FDA requirements. The Order further prohibits Dreher from making other health claims for a food, drug, or dietary supplement for human use, including as an expert endorser, without competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the claim.”
In a statement issued earlier this year, FTC’s David Vladeck explained, “Any consumer who sees POM Wo
nderful 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.”
As reported earlier in RBR-TVBR, the advertising cited by FTC includes just about everything imaginable except broadcasting – newspaper, magazine, internet, newsletter, billboard, bus stop kiosks, and packaging.