May 24th, 2012

POM Wonderful's Deception Is The Tip Of The Iceberg

By David Vinjamuri

For the past decade, POM Wonderful (owned by California billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick) has touted amazing health benefits as brand sales have soared above $165 million.

Among the claims consumers have heard about POM Wonderful’s pomegranate juice:

Medical studies have shown that drinking 8 oz. of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice daily minimizes factors that lead to atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) a major cause of heart disease


After drinking 8 oz. of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice daily for at least two years, these men experience significantly slower PSA doubling times

(That second claim relates to prostate cancer.) This week an administrative judge issued a cease and desist order to prevent pom wonderful from engaging in deceptive advertising practices, writing that:

The deceptive advertising claims found to have been made in this case pertained to serious diseases … including cancer

POM Wonderful has been the most aggressive among a horde of brands touting health benefits, (including Nutella, which was successfully sued by two Moms to keep it from calling itself healthy).  But POM isn’t just a brand behaving badly, or an isolated incident.  It’s the result of a law that has systematically made it harder for the U.S. consumer to understand the real effects of dietary supplements.

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