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July 26, 2012 / Scott Tillett

POM Mediocre: Judge Rules Against Pomegranate Juice Maker

On May 17, 2012, Federal Trade Commission Judge Michael Chappell issued a ruling that the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice used deceptive advertising in marketing the benefits of the product.  Specifically, POM Wonderful was ordered to stop making any claims that the products were effective to treat, cure, or mitigate any disease.

Judge Chappell upheld a 2010 Federal Trade Commission administrative ruling against the company, holding that the makers of POM Wonderful could not substantiate their claims that the juice could “treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction” with sufficient medical evidence.

Judge Chappell did not require, as requested in the complaint, that the company get pre-approval from the Food and Drug Administration for claims made in future advertisements. Afterwards, POM Wonderful issued a statement, noting that the court’s order allows the company to “share scientific evidence that highlights the value and power inherent in pomegranates and pomegranate juice.

Consumers of POM Wonderful in Georgia have also brought a class action lawsuit (W. Rex Templeton, Jr. v. POM Wonderful, LLC and Roll International Corporation, Case No. 12-cv-53, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division.). The lawsuit alleges that the company falsely advertises that its products prevent or treat atherosclerosis, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions. The class action plaintiffs noted that the Food and Drug Administration found that POM’s marketing was in direct violation of the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetics Act, which prohibits companies from making unsubstantiated health claims.

It is unclear whether Judge Chappell’s holding will impact the class action lawsuit.

If you have purchased a product using deceptive or misleading advertising, contact Khorrami, LLP for an evaluation of your rights.

 

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