The makers of PomWonderful are under fire for their advertising claims. PomWonderful is a juice…a food product.
But its makers claim that it can have specific health effects. Welcome to the complicated world of functional foods.
Here’s the story, by Edward Wyatt, for the NYT: Claims by Pom Juice Called Deceptive
PomWonderful, the pricey and popular pomegranate juice sold in the distinctly curvaceous bottle, is advertised as helping reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and impotence. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, the evidence does not back up those claims….
Here’s the interesting bit:
Pom also said that the F.T.C. was, in seeking to require F.D.A. oversight over the company’s claims, treating pomegranate juice as a drug, although the products “do not carry the risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs….”
Well, once upon a time the distinction between food & drug may have been clear. But not in 2010. As I blogged recently, Nestlé has just announced the launch of a new business unit aimed at developing high-tech foods. And if foods can’t carry the risks associated with pharmaceuticals, then why are so many people up in arms about the FDA’s apparent readiness to approve GM salmon?