What is in this article?:
- FTC attorneys unimpressed by POM's $35 million investment in science
- NBJ Bottom Line
The Federal Trade Commission's case against POM Wonderful's advertising claims moves toward trial. The first hearing reveals FTC's skepticism at the quality of POM's scientific research to support disease claims on its juice and supplement products.
California juice and supplement maker POM Wonderful has entered a new stage in its product claims battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with a May 24 hearing in Washington, DC. POM’s troubles with FTC date back to September 2010, when the regulatory body filed a complaint asserting the company had made disease claims on its juice and supplement products, including reduction of the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.
The case harkens back to similar complaints filed against Nestle and Dannon last year over disease claims of similar scope. FTC resolved that, were the defendants to make the same claims in the future, they would require two double-blind, placebo-controlled, human clinical trials performed on the finished product, as well as FDA pre-market approval of claims.
FTC was unable to reach a settlement agreement with Los Angeles-based POM after the complaint was filed, and the case has entered the trial stage. POM’s management—including California agricultural barons Lynda and Stewart Resnick—deny FTC’s case on the grounds that POM has sufficient scientific evidence to back every claim.
The company’s legal brief boasts $35 million in scientific research to bolster its claims, including “more than 90 scientific investigations with over 65 studies on POM products, including 17 clinical trials.” As such, POM’s attorneys have appealed to the First Amendment in their defense, asserting that POM’s product claims are substantiated free speech.