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POM Wonderful stands by its claims -- and keeps 'em coming

March 5, 2010 |  7:45 pm

Pomwonderful In response to a warning sent Feb. 22 that it is making drug claims for its juice, POM Wonderful has posted a statement on its website

"We are currently reviewing the FDA’s concerns. As strong advocates of honest labeling and fair advertising, POM Wonderful wants its customers to know that all statements made in connection with our products are true, and are supported by an unprecedented body of scientific research.

POM is confident about the depth of our research; we look forward to working with the FDA to resolve these issues and to continued clear and honest communications with consumers about the health benefits of our products."

Here's the website where you can read the things POM Wonderful is saying that got the Food and Drug Administration's knickers in a twist. Atherosclerosis, erectile function, blood flow, blood pressure...all improved by quaffing POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. (I have a pomegranate tree in my backyard, and little did I know I had the tree of life back there, but then again, it's not a POM Wonderful tree...)

The most galling thing about the material is the number of times "POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice" is mentioned. The most over-the-top elements are testimonials from POM Wonderful users, such as:

"I am so thankful for POM! It saved my boyfriend's life. The man of my dreams was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer .... Upon being diagnosed, he has been drinking two glasses of POM Juice [daily] .... We both believe that POM Juice has been the crucial factor in keeping his PSA levels at an undetectable level. The powerful antioxidants contained in this fluid have also helped keep him healthy enough to fight the side effects of his treatments and give him energy to improve his health...."

Well, if that's not proof I don't know what is.

So here's a question. If you had the FDA breathing down your neck about claims you're making, what would you do? If you're POM Wonderful, you slap another claim on your website right after the FDA has rapped your knuckles: "Wonderful Pomegranate Speeds Recovery Time And Reduces Muscle Pain After Strenuous Exercise." This claim, however, is not about treating or preventing disease, so perhaps the FDA doesn't care about it.

--Rosie Mestel

Photo credit: Business Wire

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Comments (5)

POM Wonderful got caught by the FDA and there overwhelming evidence is shoddy scientific research that would not hold up to FDA or medical scrutiny. They have made a bunch if unsubstantiated claims and they deserve to pay the price for trying to dupe the public and position their product as a save all.

The creator of POM Wonderful started with a problem - what to do with all the excess pomegranates on their estate?
Through an amazing marketing campaign, they've gotten us to believe that POM juice is manna from heaven, an ambrosia to cure all.
While there's no arguing that the fruit itself is healthy, as are many others, once it's squeezed into juice, the main "benefit" is 17 teaspoons of sugar!
Give me $32Million to pay for research, and I'll prove that açai berries are a superfruit too (dang, somebody's done that already!).

POM has had problems with false and misleading advertising for years. NAD of the BBB came after them in 2005 and 2006. POM didn't change their ads. Instead they did just as you said. They added another crazy claim. Soon POM will be saying "POM Wonderul!!! Winning lotto results in every bottle!!"

New York, NY – April 12, 2005 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better
Business Bureaus, Inc., the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, recommended that POM
Wonderful, LLC modify or discontinue advertising claims regarding its POM Wonderful®
Pomegranate Juice. The truth and accuracy of the advertiser’s claims was brought to the attention of the
NAD through its routine and on-going monitoring program.

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claim, in its “Amaze Your Cardiologist” advertisement,
that the daily consumption of eight ounces of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice “can reduce plaque by
up to 30%” to more clearly articulate the preliminary nature of the referenced pilot study and the details of
the parameters of that study. NAD also recommended that POM Wonderful either discontinue or modify
this claim, in its “Floss your arteries Daily” advertisement, so as to avoid the implication that daily
consumption of eight ounces of POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice can serve as a preventative measure
against carotid artery stenosis (artery plaque build-up) in healthy individuals.

In a statement to NAD, POM Wonderful expressed that it was pleased NAD found that some of its
advertising contains valuable health information. Although the advertiser respectfully disagrees with
NAD that POM Wonderful’s use of the 30% plaque reduction claim in the “Floss Your Arteries” ad is in
any way misleading or confusing, “in deference to NAD’s extensive experience and expertise and in
support of the self-regulatory process, [it] agrees to take into account NAD’s findings in this inquiry with
respect to its future advertising.”

POM's "scientific research" is hokey. They only did small studies. Everyone knows that small studies will give you any result you want. The results of all of the studies was "more research is needed." More info here.

"This claim, however, is not about treating or preventing disease, " actually, that's not the standard that the FDA uses. When any medical condition or benefit is implied as the causal agent for improvement of such condition, it becomes subject to the FDA regulations regarding drug labeling. So, amazingly, they ARE doing more of the same.

POM must have TERRIBLE lawyers working for them, or they have all quit. This is some of the most obvious stuff that many small companies (think all those MLM noni-juice knockoffs) have had to worry about even during the Bush years.

When I worked as a webmaster for one of these noni-juice knockoffs, my main job was to implement their lawyers advice (after recieving threatning letters from the FDA) and cull testimonials submitted by enthusiastic juice drinkers, making almost the same vague generalized claims as POM does.

It was astonishing for someone with my experience to see such testimonials ALL over the place with POM's blessing AND encouragement on their website!! Let alone, they KEEP IT THERE after the letter GOES PUBLIC!

But to POM's credit, at least they've haven't made any assertions about AIDS (like some testimonials I've had to delete had). haw.


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