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POM Wonderful health claims in ads deceptive, says judge

A judge ruled that the health claims in POM Wonderful's ads were deceptive.

Pom juice lawsuit ad deceptiveEnlarge
A federal judge ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission's allegations that POM Wonderful's advertising about its health benefits was deceptive and misleading on May 21, 2012. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal administrative judge ruled on Monday that POM Wonderful advertising touting pomegranate juice's health benefits was deceptive, according to CBS News.

POM Wonderful claimed its juices could treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction in its ads.

Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell upheld a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission filed in September 2010 against POM and its parent company, Roll International Corp.

Chappell said that POM used "insufficient" evidence to make its claims and said the ad that claimed POM was an "antioxidant superpower" was deceptive, according to The Los Angeles Times. That particular ad also said that antioxidants guard against conditions that "can cause heart disease, premature aging, Alzheimer's disease, even cancer."

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The cease-and-desist order which was issued on Monday will remain in effect for the next 20 years, reported The New York Times.

In his decision, Chappell wrote, "The greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony demonstrates that there is insufficient competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate claims that the POM products treat, prevent or reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction or that they are clinically proven to do so," said The Times.

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The company said the FTC lawsuit "tried to create a new, stricter industry standard, similar to that required for pharmaceuticals, for marketing the health benefits inherent in safe food and natural food-based products," reported Agence France Presse.

Craig Cooper, POM Wonderful's chief legal officer, said, "While we are still analyzing the ruling, it is clear that we will be able to continue to promote the health benefits of our safe, food products without having our advertisements, marketing or public relations efforts preapproved," according to AFP.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/120522/pom-wonderful-health-claims-ads-deceptive-says-judge