It's not often that both sides claim victory when a judge hands down his decision in a court case, but that's exactly what happened earlier this week in the legal fight between Pom Wonderful and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
A little background for you...
A few years ago, the FTC went after Pom Wonderful for what it said was "false advertising" in regards to the health claims Pom made about its pomegranate juice products.
Pom Wonderful, who had invested upwards of $30 million in scientific studies to prove their health claims factual turned around and sued the FTC claiming their arbitrary rules regarding health food claims infringed on their ability to tell consumers about the health benefits of their products.
Pom Wonderful cites the judge's decision that the FTC's requirement that POM seek pre-approval from the FDA before making health claims in the future is unprecedented and against the law. They are also pleased that the judge rejected the government's requirement that the only acceptable health claims were those supported by randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Said POM's top lawyer, "The FTC 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. They failed."
Maybe, but remember, the FTC is also claiming victory. Here's what their spokesman had to say...
I am pleased that Judge Chappell found that all respondents... violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by deceptively advertising that the POM products treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer... and has entered an order against them."
So who really won? Tough to say, but I can tell you who I think lost. You, me and all the American people. Not only did we spend valuable tax dollars to wage this battle with a little pomegranate juice company, but the judge's ruling brings food companies and food supplement companies no closer to actually sharing healthful information about their products.
I have to say, I think POM is trying to put a good spin on this. I mean, they had 70 peer-reviewed studies about the health benefits of their products, and when they tried to tell their customers about these studies, they got nothing but headaches.
But I do applaud them for taking on the government, and only time will tell if their "victory" translates into an improvement in the food industry's ability to share the health benefits of their products with consumers.
The cynical side of me says no. Despite the judge's decision, I think we are no closer to breaking down the government's support of the sickness industry and their belief that only pharmaceutical drugs can prevent and treat disease.
But again, I think it's wonderful that POM Wonderful tried.
CEO, Health Freedom Nutrition
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Oh thanks. I was wondering what happened to that. Companies need to be careful in their labeling and advertisements, but info needs to get to the public. More and more, I think that is the role of health forums and health newsletters.
- Jim "The most powerful force ever known on this planet is human cooperation � a force for construction and destruction.� (Jonathan Haidt)
hope they learned a valuable lesson from this. let other internet sites talk about health claims of food legally.
don't spend 33 million on some stupid studies if you're a beverage company! its going to take you a long time to make that in profits.
instead use that money to lower prices or anything else. something that will help increase sales. when people buy pomegrante juice, and spend that type of money on it, they've alredy read about it on some internet site like this one or naturalnews. spend a tiny tiny fraction of that taking the people who run those sites to your manufacturing process and show them how great your product is, so they'll give you authentic buzz at a much much smaller fraction of the price.
dang it....I should be running a beverage company.