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The Los Angeles Times reports this morning on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continuing investigation into the health claims being made by Pom Wonderful, the pomegranate juice company, and its owner, Lynda Resnick, who has an almost evangelical belief in her product.

“It's not surprising that the people at her company are outraged that the Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration have accused them of hyping the health benefits of Pom juice as though they're just a gang of cheap hucksters,” the Times writes. “Pom contends that the agencies are adulterating its right of free speech. The company says the regulators should focus on firms that make unhealthy products or drugs, not those that market pure produce bursting with healthfulness, like Pom.”

The Times goes through the claims made by Pom, ands concludes that there is little, if any, objective evidence that it does what the company claims; there are some cases where the evidence cited is based on studies paid for by Pom.

The Times goes on, “The problem identified by the government regulators is that Pom makes its boasts in the name of marketing, but dresses them up as scientifically valid. Long experience should tell the average consumer that marketing and science seldom make for a good marriage.

“Science is about trying to establish truth. Marketing is about convincing consumers that smoking the right cigarettes will get you girls even if you look like a camel, or that - as Resnick showed by marketing Fiji Water - they're being ‘green’ by drinking water shipped from a dictatorship 5,000 miles across the sea.”
KC's View:
The problem is that as the FTC tries to reign Pom in, the company seems to be getting more aggressive with its claims and advertising. Not a good idea ... because there’s going to be a lot more coverage prompted by the fight. And I’m guessing that the loser, in the long run, will be Pom’s credibility.