Is POM Juice a Scam?

POM ads Is POM Juice a Scam?

The FTC has charged the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements with making false and unsubstantiated claims that their products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

The FTC Charges…

“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made.  Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”

POM’s Response

POM Wonderful said that it disagrees with the FTC and its results have been encouraging. POM said it has a right to share its research as it becomes available, especially because its food products do not have risks associated with pharmaceuticals.

“It’s a shame that the government is unable to understand this fundamental distinction, and instead is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate,” the Los Angeles-based company said.

POM ads 2 Is POM Juice a Scam?

Persecute the Pomegranate???

The FTC isn’t persecuting the pomegranate.

They’re persecuting a company that took a previously unloved little fruit and with a few million dollars for research & advertising, transformed the image of the “health juice” market from hippie to hipster.

Unfortunately, they went a little too far with their marketing claims.

Statements such as the following caused the FTC’s ears to perk up.

  • “SUPER HEALTH POWERS! … 100% PURE POMEGRANATE JUICE. … Proven to fight for cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health.”
  • “POM WONDERFUL JUICE =  30% DECREASE IN ARTERIAL PLAQUE … 17% IMPROVED BLOOD FLOW … PROMOTES HEALTHY BLOOD VESSELS … ”
  • You have a 50 percent chance of getting [prostate cancer].  Listen to me.  You have to drink pomegranate juice. It is the one thing that will keep your PSA normal.  .  There is nothing else we know of that will keep your PSA in check. … It’s also 40 percent as effective as Viagra.”
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice and POMx prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat heart disease, including by decreasing arterial plaque, lowering blood pressure, and improving blood flow to the heart;
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice and POMx prevent, reduce the risk of, and treat prostate cancer, including by prolonging prostate-specific antigen doubling time;
  • Clinical studies prove that POM Juice prevents, reduces the risk of, and treats, erectile dysfunction.

So, where does POM go from here?

If they’re smart, they will start acting like other health & fitness supplement companies and….

  1. tone down the health claims
  2. amp up the sex appeal

Apparently they’re pretty smart.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

12 Comments

  1. Pingback: Chocolate is the Superman of Super Foods - Health Habits

  2. Nick

    February 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    So… uh you call this a health website?
    I don’t think so. POM juice is more healthy than I would say about 90% the stuff we drink daily. And you guys bash it? Of course they have some ridiculous marketing they are a COMPANY, and last time I checked company’s want to make money?

    Of course it won’t do everything it says, but there has been studies on pomegranates in general, which i’m pretty sure is in the juice..? Yes?
    If you want to pick apart a company that claims to be healthy, how about Arizona? Because POM actually DOES have health benefits.

  3. Steve K

    December 3, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Pay the government’s required tribute or pay the price. Isn’t it amazing how many “gov approved” drugs get yanked from the market when it ultimately turns out they don’t cure but instead kill? Why should you need government approval to say anything? The government is scum.

  4. Cole Stan

    October 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I find the claims too exaggerating even if these are all true. I mean, they could deliver it in a much convincing manner than stating that clinical studies…blah…blah…blah… As a consumer, an appealing advertising campaign is very important for me. I want to know the benefits without too much emphasis on it.

  5. david@plasticbags

    October 17, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I drink pom everyday. I love it so much!

  6. Linda

    October 15, 2010 at 10:09 am

    POM is delicious but so expensive. Anyway, I don’t necessarily think the FTC should go after them but they probably should tone their claims down a bit. A lot of stupid people out there probably believe that POM will actually make them live a cancer-free life. In my opinion stick with the fruit! (more fiber anyway)

  7. Chris

    October 11, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    When it comes to consumable products, you’ve definitely need to be careful with what you go around claiming. I’m glad to see the FTC taking a crack at a fruit juice company for making these claims, don’t want fruit juice to become the modern version of “cure all elixirs” that were being sold at end of the 19th century.

  8. Ahmed

    October 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Not taking into consideration the drink itself (nutrient profile), they’ve got an awesome marketing team. Lately I see a commercial and I don’t understand how a large company would actually pay someone for it, but POMs is great!

  9. Jarret

    October 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Doug, great pickup on this story. There’s no question that those are drug claims. The FDA has different categories of claims. At the most basic level are what they deem “structure/function” claims. One common example would be something along the lines of “glucosamine helps promote joint health.”

    Qualified health claims are the next chain up the ladder and require submissions to the FDA. This entails further substantiation.

    Actual health claims require even a further amount of evidence and filings with the FDA. If successful these allow companies to make a direct and strong connection between their product and a disease state. Given the cost of the research required, the filing fees, etc, not many companies make it to this state unless they have substantial capital.

  10. Project Swole

    October 8, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Pomegranate, Acai, Resveratrol, Goji, the list goes on and on.

    Are these healthy foods? Yes.
    Will they help you lose fat? Eh, maybe.
    Will they cure medical illnesses? Um, no.

    Should you consume these foods because they have antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs, and are generally really good for you? Pretty much, yeah.

    Should you consume these foods because they are the magical pill that will deliver instant results to the obese or clinically ill, or because you will definitely not get cancer, heart disease, or diabetes if you use them? Yeah you should, and I’m also selling a beautiful bridge in New York, which has proven to be an extremely profitable investment. Contact me if interested.

    • healthhabits

      October 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      I’m still paying off that swamp land in Florida

  11. Patricia

    October 6, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    You would think a company that spent so much money to get this off the ground would have good lawyers watching their back and realise you can’t make unsubstantiated claims and always have to write very carefully. Great to see the humble pomegranite getting the recognition it deserves but a pity it’s getting the attention all for the wrong reasons at the moment!
    Patricia Perth Australia