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NewsBites August 2012 Issue

Pomegranate Juice Claims Ruled Deceptive, Controversy Goes On

In a split decision on a 2010 complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, an administrative law judge ruled that the product has not been proven to treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction. While upholding the FTC’s false-advertising complaint, however, the judge sided with POM in denying the agency’s demand that the juice company seek prior approval of any future advertising health claims. The 335-page opinion also allowed POM to claim its juice “supports prostate health” and “promotes erectile health.” Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are not necessary, the judge added, to support such assertions. Both sides claimed victory following the ruling. POM agreed it would make “appropriate adjustments” to future ads, pending an appeal, but promptly rolled out new ads selectively quoting from the ruling, with the tagline, “I’m off to save prostates!”

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