“This post titled “Breaking News: Big Scientific Free Speech Win!” on ‘Alliance for Natural Health‘ was published in May this year. It is relevant to copy it here because of a few things.
POM pomegranate juice is currently a significant personal hope for a natural reduction in arterial clogging, or at least a factor against worsening. There are a few other natural products and dietary methods also being implemented. I hope, after another 3 months, to report exact developments, so I will say no more at the moment.
The FDA is notorious for approving pharma products that are already known to be dangerous and they dare to criticise a product/manufacturer for promoting a known healthy food with absolutely zero risks.
The FDA is similarly known for its active bias against natural products and is clearly linked to the pharmaceutical industry.
Here, some justice was being seen to be possible and is warmly welcomed.
“In a 335-page ruling handed down today, an Administrative Law Judge with oversight of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has upheld the right of pomegranate juice manufacturer POM Wonderful to tell consumers about the health benefits of its juice.
Since 1996, POM has invested over $35 million to do scientific research on their pomegranate products at 44 top universities and scientific centers around the globe. Over 70 of their studies have been published in significant peer-reviewed journals, validating the health benefits of the pomegranate and pomegranate juice.”
What makes this ruling significant is the fact that the judge said, “The greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony in this case leads to the conclusion that where the product is absolutely safe, like POM Products, and where the claim or advertisement does not suggest that the product be used as a substitute for conventional medical care or treatment, then it is appropriate to favor disclosure.” While we are still studying the ruling, it seems to indicate that other safe products may also be allowed to disclose scientifically validated studies about their health benefits.
The ruling also implies that Roll Global, POM Wonderful’s parent company, will not need to get FDA approval before making health claims about its food products, nor will it have to conduct the kind of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies that are required of the pharmaceutical industry, and which the FTC was illegally insisting on.
Read this article here.
However, the publicity from this was not all good as the POM claims were not completely ratified by the legal process and adverse media gave what could be construed as a biassed coverage. There are still ongoing legal activities presumably funded by the giant pharma industry but nothing that takes away from the real health benefits, only attacking the advertising from technical and academic points of view.
The manufacturer had this to say:
May 29, 2012
Some of our readers wondered about contradictory major media headlines. The facts of the case follow.
Last week we reported on the court decision in favor of pomegranate maker POM Wonderful, allowing the company to tell consumers about the health benefits of its juice.
Pat writes: “Moments after reading this article claiming the ‘win’ I saw the Yahoo headline below.”
The headline reads: “Pomegranate juice claims deceptive, US rules.”
We saw that too. The New York Times and many others are also reporting the POM Wonderful decision as a loss for POM, but this is a case where the media are completely misrepresenting the story. This is either gross media bias or simple ignorance; we can’t really say which. What we can say is that it is a disgrace to report without carefully checking facts or providing context.
The judge in the case issued a 335-page decision, so there was a lot in it. He found that product claims don’t need double-blind Random Controlled Trials (RCTs) to support them, and that claims don’t need to be FDA-approved. This is hugely important win and the heart of the case.
The judge’s decision is a major roadblock to the FTC’s and FDA’s desire to create a pharmaceutical-like pre-approval system for supplements. It reaffirms existing law which forbids such pharmaceutical standards. The idea of treating supplements as if they were drugs may sound good to an uninformed public, but it would really mean the end of supplements. A natural food or supplement ingredient cannot, in general, be patented because it is a natural substance, and without patent protection it can never get an exclusive share of the market and recoup the investment of millions of dollars it takes to do those double-blind RCTs.
The judge also found that the evidence POM Wonderful presented to substantiate some of its ads—specifically, the ones allegedly claiming that POM products treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, or erectile dysfunction—was inadequate. This was not a surprise. It is very difficult under existing law for a supplement to make a disease claim or what can be interpreted as a disease claim. But for the media to trumpet this in headlines and present it as evidence that POM “lost” is completely misleading. POM won its case, and so did natural health.
Over the past couple of years, the FTC has been requiring two RCTs as part of lawsuit settlement agreements (“consent decrees”). As we have reported, this is illegal, and FTC has been attempting to circumvent the rulemaking process by creating new law this way. In fact, the reason ANH-USA filed a Petition for Rulemaking against the FTC was that we have every reason to believe FTC will continue in this practice, and as we note above, companies simply cannot afford to perform two RCTs for each claim on each product.
Note that structure/function claims are completely legal under DSHEA, so what FTC was doing here is in opposition to the law governing supplements. There is little enough information we are currently allowed access—we can’t risk even that little bit being trampled. That is why this ruling matters.
Read this information here.
- POM Wonderful Pomegranates Have Arrived! (thehotspotorlando.com)
- Health Benefits of Pomegranate – Pomegranate Juice – The Top Ten (PIC & WISDOM) === PLEASE SHARE === (vjindigo.wordpress.com)
- POM Wonderful Takes on FTC in New Advertising Campaign (pubcit.typepad.com)
- Pomegranate juice maker presses battle over health claims (thenewstribune.com)
- All hail the Pomegranate, official symbol of Granada (thelecrinvalley.wordpress.com)
- Pomegranate juice may prevent advanced breast cancer (foodconsumer.org)
- Snapshots from Israel: I’m Obsessed With Pomegranate Juice (drinks.seriouseats.com)
- Were pomegranates really the forbidden fruit? POM Wonderful ads promote sexual benefits (daveibsen.typepad.com)