September 20, 2021

FTC Complaint: POM Wonderful Health Claims Are False and Unsubstantiated

Pomegranate Fruit

Pomegranate Fruit

On Monday the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the company that produces POM Wonderful pomegranate juice products. The complaint disputes claims made by the company that the pomegranate can prevent and treat a variety of health problems ranging from arterial plaque to erectile dysfunction.

The FTC charged that the claims, found in both print publications and internet advertisements, are based on faulty scientific research and “false and unsubstantiated”.

POM Wonderful says that since 1998 the company has spent $34 million supporting research related to pomegranates which has resulted in 55 published studies. The company plans to issue a statement sometime today.

The FTC is requesting a court order requiring the company to discontinue making statements, unless the claims are pre-approved by the Food and Drug Administration, that products made from pomegranates can cure, treat or prevent any disease.

In a related action, Mark Dreher, a former POM Wonderful official and expert endorser, has agreed to a settlement in a related case that claims his endorsements of POM products included unsupported health claims. According to the FTC, Dreher has agreed to no longer make such claims.

Advertising claims the FTC wants to put an end to are that pomegranate products have “super health powers,” that drinking 8 ounces of POM Wonderful daily can cure prostate cancer, that pomegranate juice is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction and that it is also proven to reduce plaque in arteries by 30%.

Filing an administrative complaint does not necessarily mean that the company has violated any laws. A hearing before an administrative law judge will be held in eight months.