The FTC wants to see some proof that the pomegranate ingredients in POM Wonderful’s products can actually treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, which is what the company says in marketing and packaging materials.
POM Wonderful tends to mention studies that prove its products’ effectiveness in treating those conditions, but the FTC says such claims are “false and unsubstantiated,” because the studies either didn’t show what POM claims, or they weren’t valid studies. In the case of erectile dysfunction, the FTC says the study POM points to actually didn’t show pomegranate to be any more effective than a placebo.
In a separate action, the FTC has come down on POM Wonderful’s former head of scientific and regulatory affairs, and he has agreed to stop making any health claims that aren’t supported by actual scientific evidence.
On its website, POM Wonderful claims that it stands behind the studies, and that “we do not make claims that our products act as drugs. What we do, rather, is communicate, through advertising, the promising science relating to pomegranates.”