Purely Juice found guilty of deceiving customers with adulterated pomegranate juice and false advertising

LOS ANGELES, July 22 /PRNewswire/ — POM Wonderful announced today a legal victory for consumers when a US District Federal Court in Los Angeles found in favor of POM Wonderful in its lawsuit against Purely Juice, Inc. for false advertising and misleading marketing. In 2007, POM Wonderful filed a federal lawsuit against Purely Juice claiming it was deceiving consumers by selling adulterated, imported pomegranate juice. Purely Juice marketed and labeled its product as 100% pomegranate juice, when in fact, seven independent labs verified that Purely Juice’s “100% pomegranate juice” “is not pure pomegranate juice,” but rather “consists primarily of cane sugar and corn sweetener, and contains little pomegranate solids.” Additional independent lab testing showed evidence of repeated adulteration over a period of several months.

The Court ruling made several important findings including:

— “Purely Juice does not grow and process its own pomegranates. Instead Purely Juice relies on a broker, Perma Pom, to secure pomegranate juice from foreign suppliers in Iran.”

— “In 2006, it was widely known in the super premium juice industry that there were serious issues of adulteration with pomegranate juice concentrate originating from outside the United States. The Court finds that defendants [Purely Juice] knew, or should have known, of these issues of juice adulteration.”

— “If a product labeled as ‘100% pomegranate’ juice is not, in fact, genuine pomegranate juice, it may not have the same chemical and nutritional properties, such as high levels of unique polyphenols, as real pomegranate juice. Added sugar and other undisclosed adulterants, such as those included in Purely Juice’s product, dilute the concentration of pomegranate-specific compositions such as unique polyphenols, that have been shown to have various significant health benefits and, worse, the adulterants themselves could cause unanticipated negative health effects.”

— “Purely Juice’s own testing confirmed adulteration.”

— “Purely Juice did not, however, recall any product which Purely Juice’s own tests had revealed to be adulterated.”

— “Scientists have determined that 100% pomegranate juice has high levels of unique polyphenols that are largely responsible for the proven health benefits associated with 100% pomegranate juice. Polyphenols are important antioxidants that are particularly effective at neutralizing free radicals, preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and plaque build-up in the blood vessels, and preserving nitric oxide, a key chemical in the body for regulating blood flow and maintaining vessel health.”

— “In addition to cardiovascular benefits, some scientific research shows that the high levels of polyphenols in 100% pomegranate juice have great promise in inhibiting cancer, particularly prostate cancer, as well as numerous chronic diseases associated with aging such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Research also indicates that 100% pomegranate juice may benefit diabetics.”

— “Consumers are likely to base their purchasing decisions upon precisely the kinds of false statements contained in Purely Juice’s marketing, particularly the untrue statements about its products consisting of ‘100% pomegranate juice’ and containing ‘no sugar added.'”

— “Purely Juice’s ‘100% Pomegranate’ product is sold for less per ounce than plaintiff’s POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice product. Purely Juice markets itself as a lower priced option to plaintiff. Purely Juice would have lost most or all of its market share had they not misrepresented the content of its juice.”

— “Purely Juice’s advertising from January 7, 2007 to August 30, 2007 was literally false, as demonstrated by the independent tests performed by seven different laboratories. Although Purely Juice claimed that its adulterated “100% Pomegranate” product consisted of “100% pomegranate juice” and contained ‘NO added sugar or sweeteners,’ independent laboratory testing of the juice found these statements to have been false.”

— “Through its investment of millions of dollars to research and promote the nutritional qualities and health benefits associated with pomegranate juice, POM Wonderful has largely created the burgeoning market for genuine pomegranate juice that exists today.”

The following is a statement released today by POM Wonderful President Matt Tupper:

“This is as much a victory for consumers as it is for POM Wonderful and it serves as a powerful example of why consumers should demand to know the origin of their pomegranate juice and always check the back labels to scrutinize juice content. Through deceptive packaging, promoting and labeling, Purely Juice has been marketing its product as 100% pomegranate juice. However, seven independent labs confirmed that Purely Juice was adulterated with added sugar, added color and filler juices.”

“Our research shows that the primary reason that our customers drink pomegranate juice is for the health benefits. So when consumers see a juice product with a picture of a pomegranate and the words ‘100% juice’ prominently displayed on the front label, they think of powerful health benefits. And they trust that the manufacturer is taking whatever steps necessary to guarantee 100% authenticity, purity, and genuine health benefits.”

“Unfortunately, Purely Juice took advantage of consumers seeking these health benefits by advertising and labeling its product as ‘100% pomegranate juice’ with ‘no sugar added’ and offering it at lower price. Yet, they knew full well they were selling adulterated juice.”

“We hope this ruling serves as a wake-up call for all pomegranate juice producers to ensure their labels communicate clearly the origin and actual ingredients of their products. The reality is that there are not enough pomegranates grown throughout the world to satisfy the rising consumer demand for pomegranate juice. Many juice suppliers, particularly those exporting from foreign countries, make up for this deficit by adding sugar, colorants, and cheap filler juices to what they market as ‘100% pomegranate juice.’ Unfortunately, this is not a problem unique to pomegranate juice; adulteration of orange, apple, and cranberry juice has occurred for decades as unscrupulous suppliers attempt to add to their economic bottom line by cheating consumers of real ingredients.”

“POM Wonderful is unique because we guarantee 100% authentic pomegranate juice by controlling the juicing process at every step along the way. We start by growing our own ‘Wonderful’ variety of pomegranates in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and then we employ our own proprietary juicing facilities to deliver the optimal combination of delicious taste and powerful antioxidants. We never use imported pomegranate juice.”

“As the first refrigerated 100% pomegranate juice on the market and the only one to be supported by $25 million in medical research, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice is considered the gold standard. Over the last decade, 10 clinical studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals documenting the beneficial effects of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice on human health; in particular, results from heart, prostate and erectile health studies have shown encouraging promise. No other commercially available pomegranate juice has been tested in clinical trials.”

“As this important ruling shows, if consumers want to be sure they are getting the pomegranate health benefits they have heard about, they should drink only 100% pomegranate juice from the ‘Wonderful’ variety fruit of verified origin and proven authenticity.”

For more information, visit pomegranatetruth.com.
About POM Wonderful

POM Wonderful is the largest producer of California Wonderful pomegranates, and the company exclusively grows and sells this variety. POM Wonderful’s pomegranates grow in central California’s sunny San Joaquin Valley. Fresh pomegranates are in season from October through January and November is National Pomegranate Month.

The company also juices its fresh pomegranates to make its delicious, all-natural, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice. POMx is a highly-concentrated, incredibly powerful blend of all-natural polyphenol antioxidants harnessed from the same Wonderful variety pomegranates by a patent-pending process. POMx is available exclusively in POM Tea, POMx Pills and POMx Liquid.

POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice and POM Tea are available year-round at retail and are found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide. POMx Pills and POMx liquid are available at http://www.pompills.com/ . To learn more, visit http://www.pomwonderful.com/ .