DeMarrais: FTC says "prove it"

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

By KEVIN DEMARRAIS

RECORD COLUMNIST Is pomegranate juice good for your health, as the makers of POM Wonderful products proclaim in extensive national advertising?

Prove it, the Federal Trade Commission says. It has asked a federal judge to require the company to stop making claims that its pomegranate products can cure, prevent or treat a wide range of conditions — including heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction — unless they are first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It’s part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to uncover over-hyped health claims in food advertising.

This week, the FTC issued an administrative complaint alleging the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements are making false and unsubstantiated claims.

The ads appeared in national publications, on Internet sites, on bus stops and billboards, in newsletters to customers and on tags on the product, the FTC said.

“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

“When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made,” he said. “Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”

Not surprisingly, POM’s makers had a different view.

“POM Wonderful fundamentally disagrees with the FTC and believes that the commission’s allegations against POM are completely unwarranted,” the company said in a statement.

“It’s a shame that the government is unable to understand this fundamental distinction [between food and drugs], and instead is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate.”

Picking apples

Demarest Farm in Hillsdale was overrun with schoolchildren last Friday. What a great sight!

It’s encouraging to see a local business doing well, especially when it is one of the last remaining active farms in the area.

Even more important, while the children were enjoying a day of hay rides and apple picking, they were receiving an important lesson, learning that our food doesn’t grow in the supermarket.

Rebate program extended

You still have a chance to qualify for a rebate on an energy-efficient appliance.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has approved a third phase of the federally funded rebate program for certain Energy Star home appliances.

Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program was scheduled to end Aug. 31, but it has been extended through Dec. 31 — or until funding runs out.

Rebates for washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators range from $35 to $100.

In addition to the federally funded appliance rebates, New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program also offers rebates of $25 to $50 for Energy Star-qualified washers and dehumidifiers.

For a complete list of retailers offering instant rebates and details of the federal and state programs, go to New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program website at NJCleanEnergy.com or call 866-NJ SMART (866-657-6278).

Utility payments may affect credit

Effective next year, your history of electric and gas payments — both good and bad — could affect your credit score.

Public Service Electric and Gas Co. announced last week that as of Jan. 1, it will begin reporting credit information to Experian, one of the nation’s three major consumer credit agencies.

Reports will include when customers make timely payments, as well as when their accounts are delinquent. Only information going forward, not past credit histories, will be provided to Experian once the reporting begins.

Most PSE&G customers pay their bills on time, but about 12 percent are late or fail to pay at all, said Joseph Forline, the company’s vice president of customer operations.

Customers who have questions about the new reporting policy should call 800-436-7734.

Read “Your Money’s Worth” blog at blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/yourmoneysworth/. Highlights appear in Wednesday’s Record. E-mail: demarrais@northjersey.com

Is pomegranate juice good for your health, as the makers of POM Wonderful products proclaim in extensive national advertising?

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS Prove it, the Federal Trade Commission says. It has asked a federal judge to require the company to stop making claims that its pomegranate products can cure, prevent or treat a wide range of conditions — including heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction — unless they are first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It’s part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to uncover over-hyped health claims in food advertising.

This week, the FTC issued an administrative complaint alleging the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements are making false and unsubstantiated claims.

The ads appeared in national publications, on Internet sites, on bus stops and billboards, in newsletters to customers and on tags on the product, the FTC said.

“Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

“When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made,” he said. “Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”

Not surprisingly, POM’s makers had a different view.

“POM Wonderful fundamentally disagrees with the FTC and believes that the commission’s allegations against POM are completely unwarranted,” the company said in a statement.

“It’s a shame that the government is unable to understand this fundamental distinction [between food and drugs], and instead is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate.”

Picking apples

Demarest Farm in Hillsdale was overrun with schoolchildren last Friday. What a great sight!

It’s encouraging to see a local business doing well, especially when it is one of the last remaining active farms in the area.

Even more important, while the children were enjoying a day of hay rides and apple picking, they were receiving an important lesson, learning that our food doesn’t grow in the supermarket.

Rebate program extended

You still have a chance to qualify for a rebate on an energy-efficient appliance.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has approved a third phase of the federally funded rebate program for certain Energy Star home appliances.

Funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the program was scheduled to end Aug. 31, but it has been extended through Dec. 31 — or until funding runs out.

Rebates for washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators range from $35 to $100.

In addition to the federally funded appliance rebates, New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program also offers rebates of $25 to $50 for Energy Star-qualified washers and dehumidifiers