Beverage manufacturer POM Wonderful LLC allegedly misled consumers about its juice’s usefulness in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction, according to a new lawsuit.
Although POM Wonderful, who are being blamed for false advertising, feels that they are being held to the same standards as pharmaceutical companies, a judge feels that aren’t being entirely truthful in their marketing.
D. Michael Chappell, chief administrative law judge for the US Federal Trade Commission, has ruled that the company misrepresented the benefits of their product in recent ad campaigns. By doing so, the juice company is in violation of federal law. Their punishment: Stop making outrageous health claims they can’t back up with scientific research.
FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director David C. Vladeck was happy with the ruling, stating, “I am pleased that Judge Chappell found that all respondents including [POM Wonderful co-founders] Mr. and Mrs. Resnick violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by deceptively advertising that the POM products treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction and has entered an order against them.”
However, the company will not have to have future marketing campaigns pre-approved by the Federal Trade Commission, which is why the company is pleased with the verdict.
Craig Cooper, chief legal officer for the company, expressed their happiness with the outcome. “[The lawsuit] tried to create a new, stricter industry standard, similar to that required for pharmaceuticals, for marketing the health benefits inherent in safe food and natural food-based products. While we are still analyzing the ruling, it is clear that we will be able to continue to promote the health benefits of our safe, food products without having our advertisements, marketing or public relations efforts preapproved.”
“We do believe this is a win for any natural food or beverage that is backed by strong, peer-reviewed, published research,” POM Wonderful spokesman Corey Martin said in a statement.