While the FTC has settled part of its case against POM Wonderful with the consent order with Mark Dreher, the former POM Wonderful LLC Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs, the company itself continues to fight the FTC with its lawsuit claiming the regulator is violating POM Wonderful’s First Amendment rights.
The latest salvo came mid-January when POM Wonderful’s lawyers filed a request that the federal district court in Washington DC dismiss the FTC’s suit. The company’s position is that it does not make any specific health claims. Rather, it is only communicating the promising results of its research.
According to a POM Wonderful statement, “We believe the commission is acting beyond its jurisdiction, exceeding its authority, and creating a new regulatory scheme that attempts to treat our juice as a drug, which it is not. The FTC is violating POM’s constitutional rights to share useful and important information with the public, and therefore we have initiated a separate lawsuit to preserve these rights.”
POM Wonderful’s belief is that their product is a food about which they are reporting the promising results of research studies. The FTC contends they are misrepresenting the studies to make claims about the health benefits of their products.
In that, the FTC has the support of the FDA, which in February, 2010, sent a warning letter to POM Wonderful stating that that the FDA found “serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” and “determined that your POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice product is promoted for conditions that cause the product to be a drug.”
POM Wonderful’s response to that is the same as to the FTC complaint: “We believe that the manner of which we have communicated the results of our scientific research is both truthful and appropriate.”