POM-pay: FTC Lawsuit Against POM Juice to Censor Health Benefits of Pomegranates

The hearing in the case of the Federal Trade Commission against the Resnicks, manufacturers of the pomegranate juice, POM juice, is only a month away.  The FTC has alleged that the Resnicks made unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of POM juice and seeks to prevent the Resnicks from touting the health benefits of POM juice unless they receive FDA approval.

News flash, people.  Fruit is good for you.  Pomegranates are good for you.  Any doctor will tell you that a healthy diet heavy in fruits and vegetables improves your health.  The health benefits claimed by POM juice are in no way novel: improved heart health, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, decreased arterial plaque, reduced risk of certain cancers.  The website for POM juice links to numerous studies supporting these claimed health benefits and disclaims that the conclusions are preliminary.  Consumers can then decide how much weight to give to these studies.

The stakes in the case could not be higher.  A ruling in the FTC’s favor would be a major expansion of the FDA’s regulatory authority.  What’s next—broccoli?  As to any food, the FDA would arguably have the power to dictate how it was marketed.  The compliance costs would be staggering.  Want to use the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”?  Sorry, you’ll need to prove its accuracy to the FDA, first.  Rather than incur this extra cost, most companies will probably just forgo health messages entirely and opt for other marketing strategies.  For example, POM, while the FTC case is pending, has adopted a new marketing strategy involving the sex appeal of half-dressed models rather than the scientific information that was being previously provided.  Thanks to the FTC, consumers now get bawdy images in place of scientific information.

We don’t need the FDA and the FTC monitoring and censoring the information that we receive about food products.  You don’t have to be a genius to realize that fruits and vegetables improve health; and you don’t have to be a genius to realize that they don’t cure cancer.  Hopefully, we will be spared yet another tangle of government regulations, which would offer little if any benefit and impose heavy compliance costs.

This article was also published on LewRockwell.com.

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10 Responses to POM-pay: FTC Lawsuit Against POM Juice to Censor Health Benefits of Pomegranates

  1. Danneskjold says:

    “Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.”

    Ayn Rand

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yea because not regulating swaps in the financial markets has created been such a service to national prosperity? Be careful when you make general, ambiguous statements about how “the only way a government can help national prosperity” especially if you have no clue what you are talking about.

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    • Aldo says:

      Just started off foollwing your pins, Kathryn. Excellent board started out. You may uncover, like I’ve, that you need to create more boards as you go I keep finding more and more things to pin!

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    • Max says:

      First thing is don’t borrow any more money from pay day lrdenes. I know their industry very well and there is only one thing you can do and that is talk to them. Lenders including pay day lrdenes are bound by both state credit codes and the uniform credit code this means that they must follow strict guidelines on how they do business and collect money(this falls under govt acts) so don’t assume that they are not answerable to anyone. In NSW there is actually a cap on the amount of interest they can charge you per annum. If you were in this situation when they lent to you then they shouldn’t have (unless you weren’t completely truthful on your application). Sometimes we are victims of circumstance and can get into trouble as you are (you are not alone). They can ask you for money but cannot make unreasonable demands or discuss your debt with anyone other than yourself. They also cannot refuse a payment you attempt to make even if it is not the amount they had hoped for.Make a repayment plan that is very small (so you are making an effort to pay) and explain that you first need to organise accomodation and maybe employment (you didn’t say if you had a job or not). If you feel you are being harassed by them contact the dept of fair trading as there are definate rules as to when you can be contacted , how, and how often they may approach you for funds. DO NOT let yourself be bullied but DO be honest , reliable and don’t committ to a repayment plan that you know you cannot afford as thay are not allowed to force you to accept an unaffordable agreement. If they are trying to direct debit the funds from your account and you have no money you DO have the right to advise them in writing to stop as the funds aren’t available (this will stop your bank account going into debit and causing unecessary fees). If they do not stop take a copy of your letter to your bank and advise them you have requested the lender in wirting not to debit your account. Your bank will then make this stop. Stay in contact with the lender and if you make regular repayments (even if it is a small amount) you will prove that your situation is genuine and your are making every attempt to rectify the situation. In these circumstances you can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but trust me there is. The more you hide from them the harder it will be to solve. Beware of people offering you quick fixes as they will fix quick but leave a bitter taste in your mouth for years to come. It’s not worth it. You are better off trying to pay the money back than trying to avoid them.

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  2. Pingback: Lew Rockwell Publishes DWNG Article | Do We Need Government?

  3. MFO'Brien says:

    I agree that making common sensical claims about fruits and vegetables should not be subject to FDA oversight. That said, I do NOT agree with Ayn Rand’s statement that government should keep its hands off. WE HAVE MET THE GOVERNMENT AND THEY IS US. Seriously folks, what do you think life would be like if GM and BP made all the rules?

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  4. Bobby Dougt says:

    This statement is just not true: “A ruling in the FTC’s favor would be a major expansion of the FDA’s regulatory authority” Any claim to prevent or cure a health condition makes the product a drug, which has always been regulated by the FDA, and must adhere to more stringent packaging, production, and labeling requirements. Conservatives, btw, are currently trying to make these requirements MORE restrictive (to the detriment of small cosmetic and soap makers, etc..) so I hate it when I see people trying to eat their cake and have it too.

    Anyway, these restrictions are needed because the public gets quite a bit of their information about certain things from product labeling, marketing, and derivative hype such as misinformed blog and fb posts. Here is an example: did you know that a gluten free diet is actually bad for 99.5% of people, and for those people buying and eating a gluten free product will have ZERO benefit for them? Yet, because of the labeling and hype thousands and thousands of people are now going out of their way to spend 200% on products that provide no health benefits for them. And worse, because of the placebo effect, they now blame gluten for some other ailment that they have. So this misinformation causes them to not learn the real problem that they might be experiencing. One more thing, the hype has actually caused some companies to start advertising their products as gluten free when they actually DO have gluten, which can hurt the few who actually have celiac disease. In other words, the incorrect hype over gluten has, in reality, harmed rather than helped the people who should really be concerned about it. Only if the govt steps in and regulates gluten labeling (which it really doesn’t since gluten was GRAS (generally regarded as safe)), or the fad fades, will this get fixed.

    The govt is there so we don’t have to concern ourselves with every little detail about life. We can focus and specialize, which is what really leads to innovation. If there was no govt then there’d be no schools, and half our workforce would be staying at home teaching their kids instead of growing our economy. That idea holds true in many more subtle ways across wide swathes of our economy. The conservative nonsense they’re spitting out right now is utter ridiculousness, and will shoot ourselves in the foot faster than anything their fighting against now.

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  5. Trey says:

    “The govt is there so we don’t have to concern ourselves with every little detail about life.” Why couldn’t a business (or businesses), like Whole Foods for example, fill this void? When someone shops at Whole Foods, they don’t worry about the details of whether the food is safe, organic, etc. Whole Foods takes care of those details. The only difference between a safety brand like Whole Foods and the government is that the latter forces us to consume its safety brand (which doesn’t speak highly for the quality of its product).

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  6. Bobby Dougt says:

    Trey, I hear what you’re trying to say, but are you seriously claiming/asking a grocery store is the one responsible for making sure all the drugs are labeled correctly? They have incentives to make sure their produce doesn’t sicken us, but they have no incentives to provide proper labeling, ingredients, etc.. If it wasn’t for the gov’t, you would have a very tough time comparing the products you buy in whole foods, or knowing what’s in them.

    This very article is proof that Whole Foods itself doesn’t do that job, since they sell POM juice! We don’t want Whole Foods doing that job anyway, we want them focusing on being an efficient grocery store.

    I’m all for private sector doing as much as possible, but there are things in this world that just can’t be done for profit (in a safe, respectable, good for all of us, kind of a way). Urban planning, elementary education, road construction, a lot of medical research, etc… At some point it simply becomes more profitable for us, as a whole, to take on certain things, especially when the profit comes in the form of something other than straight out cash, be it better educated kids or longer running cars.

    China is going to beat the crap out of us in every way soon, not because they have more resources, but because they’ve quickly learned to be very efficient at finding what needs to get done and doing it. Their gov’t will move thousands of people around if it makes things better. How do they know what’s better? They’re looking at our cities and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Corporations are involved, of course, but it takes government to get that done. We’re busy shooting ourselves in the feet over self imposed debt crisis, etc..!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I don’t disagree that fruit is good for us but that does not necessarily mean that health claims by POM juice are true. Who knows what they add to the juice or how the pomegrante is processed to make the juice. I’m all for smaller government but when it comes to the safety of our food, regulate away

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