A federal administrative judge ruled yesterday that POM Wonderful used deceptive advertising when claiming that its pomegranate juice could treat or prevent heart disease, prostate cancer, and other illnesses. The judge sided with federal regulators and ordered POM to halt all claims of health benefits and performance for its beverage. Expert witnesses testified in court that scientific evidence does not support claims made in company advertising, which appeared in national newspapers, magazines, and online.
The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against POM and its parent company in September 2010. POM Wonderful is credited with having started the pomegranate craze that has spread to everything from smoothies to salad dressings; the company's health claims are a hallmark of its advertising and are seen as working to convince consumers that they are worth a premium price. (Read more POM Wonderful stories.)