Smart MNN readers likely weren’t fooled into thinking that high fructose corn syrup-sweetened soda was good for your heart — or that sugary cereal great at boosting immunity. But if you’ve been downing POM Wonderful products with the hopes of treating heart disease, preventing prostate cancer, or doing away with with erectile dysfunction, you too have been fooled by overreaching health claims.
That’s according to the Federal Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, both of which have gone after POM Wonderful’s claims. The FDA sent a letter to POM Wonderful back in March for “misleading claims that the juice could prevent or cure diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cancer,” according to the New York Times. Now, the FTC’s after the company over similar marketing language.
According to the agency’s press release, POM Wonderful makes “deceptive disease prevention and treatment claims” on ads, brochures, and product packaging promising “30% DECREASE IN ARTERIAL PLAQUE … 17% IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW” and other health benefits. While POM Wonderful told the FDA in March that its statements were backed by science, the FTC disagrees:
Many of the scientific studies conducted by POM Wonderful did not show heart disease benefit from use of its products. It alleges that the prostate cancer claims are false and unsubstantiated because, among other reasons, the study POM Wonderful relied on was neither “blinded” nor controlled. Finally, it alleges that the erectile dysfunction claims are false and unsubstantiated because the study on which the company relied did not show that POM Juice was any more effective than a placebo.