POM Wonderful received another smackdown from the Federal Trade Commission today, when the commission agreed with an internal FTC judge who previously said the company was making deceptive advertising claims by telling consumers its products would make them healthier. And to top it all off, it added 17 more examples of advertising in addition to 19 previous ads that were deemed to be less than truthy.
The FTC first caught wind of POM Wonderful’s claims back in 2010 and since then, has been pressuring the brand to back up its promises of improved health and the ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
That hasn’t been going so well: In May an administrative judge ruled that POM was deceptive in 19 ads, and today the commission upheld the judge’s earlier decision. It decreed that a total of 36 ads were shady, reports Reuters, ordering the company to stop making any kind of healthful claims until scientists conduct two randomized human trials to back such claims up.
POM isn’t taking the decision well, saying such an order “would require food companies to conduct double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in order to talk about potential health benefits of fruits and vegetables.”
In other words, that’s too much science to do.
The company says it’s done enough, anyway, by spending $35 million in research already, and will appeal the FTC’s order in federal court.