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FTC goes after POM over health claims

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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Federal Trade Commission's filed a complaint against the owners of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. The FTC says POM's marketers are making false claims of health benefits. Marketplace's John Dimsdale is with
us live from Washington with the latest. Good morning, John.

JOHN DIMSDALE: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: What are some of the health claims that POM makes?

DIMSDALE: Well they say this pricey fruit juice reduces the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. They cites clinical trials and peer-reviewed testing to back up claim that drinking pomegranate juice reduces plaque in arteries and improves blood flow and even lowers blood pressure.

CHIOTAKIS: And I take it, John, regulators at the FTC don't agree with that?

DIMSDALE: They do. They say POM's medical claims are unsubstantiated. The company is ignoring evidence that POM is no better than a placebo when it comes to any of these health benefits. The FTC has filed a false claims order that would force the company to stop touting the health improvements. And the commission wants the Food and Drug Administration to review any future claims that POM juice can prevent or treat diseases.

CHIOTAKIS: What's been POM's response, John?

DIMSDALE: Well, they're challenging the FTC's complaint, citing their scientific evidence of the health benefits. They say the commission is violating the company's First Amendment rights and overreaching its regulatory authority in asking for FDA review of POM juice as if it were a pharmaceutical drug. An administrative law judge will take up this case next May.

CHIOTAKIS: All right. Marketplace's John Dimsdsale. John, thanks.

DIMSDALE: You're welcome.

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