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Pomegranate scientist barred from endorsements

The head of science and regulatory affairs for California-based POM Wonderful is barred from endorsing any product without competent and reliable scientific information to back up the claim.

Juice company disputes FTC's misleading advertising charges

The head of science and regulatory affairs for the California-based company POM Wonderful has been barred from endorsing any product without competent and reliable scientific information to back up the claim.

The former science director for POM Wonderful has been banned from endorsing any product unless there is valid scientific evidence to back it up. ((Matt Rourke/Associated Press))
Mark Dreher was vice-president of POM Wonderful from 2005-09. The company was charged earlier this year with making false and misleading claims about the health benefits of its pomegranate juice.

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Dreher was responsible for false claims that POM Juice, POMx pills and POMx liquid would decrease arterial plaque and improve blood flow, and helps treat or prevent prostate cancer and heart disease.

The consumer protection agency found that Dreher, who holds a PhD, was well aware of research showing pomegranate juice was not effective in doing any of those things.

According to the FTC, multiple studies paid for by POM Wonderful failed to show any significant difference in cardiovascular function as a result of consuming the company's products.

POM claims it spent $34 million US on research and conducted 19 clinical trials.

POM Wonderful and its owners, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, were charged in September with making false and misleading claims.

POM's ads claiming many health benefits had been published in major North American newspapers and on the company's website.

The company disputes the FTC's finding that its claims were false and misleading, and has filed suit against the agency.