The POM Juice And Pistachios Has a Back Story…
POM juice was founded by a couple by the name of Steward and Lynda Resnick. The parent company is wonderful brands and their products include POM juice, wonderful almonds, wonderful pistachios and a few other products. How did she get there? How did this advertising genius break through the thresholds to build a multi-billion dollar company with her husband Stewart?
The story might surprise you. I know that it did for me.
Do you remember around 2009-2011 the legal heat that POM juice was getting from the FDA? Pom juice was crying wolf. Lynda was leading the POM party wolf pack crying wolf. The FDA was attacking the company for making claims from health studies regarding prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and other health conditions. POM was using this as press as to why you should buy the product. Using it to get more support, because screw the FDA right? Nice bait and switch trick when you hear the full story. They wanted consumers to related because they were being treated unfairly. They used it to sell their product.
The company, and Lynda specifically was crying wolf and was using this to her advantage. I didn’t blame her initially. I could imagine how she felt. I would have felt the same way. But what I found out over 6 years later changed my perspective on her and the company entirely.
When I hear a company or person being attacked by the FDA for selling a plant-based product I usually jump on their side to defend them because I know how brutal the FDA can be. There have been hundreds if not thousands of practitioners, doctors, entrepreneurs, farmers and anything in between who have been persecuted by this rugged 3-letter group of thugs.
I even remember going to my local grocery store and buying the massively overpriced POM juice for the first time. Just to show my support. She wanted support from the health conscious community to fight the FDA and their legion.
What we aren’t aware of though is the questionable techniques of this company behind the scenes.
It all started late last year, in 2016. I was speaking with a friend and mentor of mine who has extensive experience (decades) in the production of natural health products. He was at a health trade show and came across a Lynda Resnick, many years back.
Lynda was at the time beginning her journey into marketing her new product, POM Wonderful. A oddly shaped juice bottle that was full of pomegranate juice. The market wasn’t too familiar with pomegranate and this was a big entry for her and he husband Stewart Resnick.
This was from my understanding Wonderful Brands flagship product. The product with all the health benefits and health claims to back it up.
At this trade show Lynda Resnick was finding every single Pomegranate based company selling any pomegranate products and threatening them with legal action. If they had a pomegranate product, or a product with pomegranate, or any publishing material on pomegranate, she was going after them with a legal force and vengeance.
She threatened and took legal action on some of these vendors. Putting many of them out of business. Those who did not comply lost a lot of money in legal fees just to try to stay in business. Others who complied closed up shop and went home becoming subservient to her majesty.
It seems that at this point Lynda had plenty of financial backing to continue rampaging through anyone in the market that could be a potential big name competitor down the road sided in pomegranate trees worth billions.
When I heard this my jaw dropped. I love the natural health world. The holistic health vendors. I support as many of them as I can. The beauty in having different products and companies is that we get a variety to choose from. We get to experience more as consumers. To have one person controlling all of that is comparable to Monsanto trying to monopolize the food market.
I disagree with it 100%. So in hearing this I realized that years back when Lynda was crying wolf over the FDA attacking her I realized I couldn’t side with her and the Wonderful brand of products anymore.
Additionally there’s more….
POM Juice Actually Did Make False Health Claims!
Do I believe that Pomegranate is a healthy fruit? Yes, of course. It’s great for blood flow, circulation and full of antioxidants. Of course it is. I don’t question that at all. What I do question however is the validity of her health claims. Fruit juice has some health benefits but to be honest I wouldn’t advice drinking straight fruit juice as consuming fruit juice full of fruit sugar without fiber is still a lot for your Pancreas to handle at one time.
What’s even more interesting about this story is that the Wonderful brand (and possibly Lynda personally) were making health claims for the benefits of Pomegranate extract. Pomegranate extract had more health benefits than pomegranate juice. Pomegranate extract encompasses more of the plant than just the juice.
This is like claiming that apple juice has x, y and z health benefits yet your apple juice production process peels the skin and the study verifying the x, y and z claims was from the apple with the skin and the skin was necessary to make those claims.
The Health Claims Of POM Juice Were Truly Falsely Advertised. Unfortunately.
That’s simply one reason why I personally do not buy any Wonderful Brand products at all. I’ve decided to boycott them completely. I personally feel that the method they have used to achieve the success at a very high level is unethical and unfair to other health companies and to health consumers themselves. It feels like more of a money-grab than an actual heartfelt company looking to improve your health with you.
When I see POM commercials or Pistachio commercials I think to myself two things. First, that the products are far too pricey especially since they’re not organic. Second, that they are milking branding and celebrity endorsements to push their products. I’m naturally skeptical of large companies pushing well-branded, celebrity backed products. They have a history of producing low quality products. Name one celebrity backed food or beverage company that you actually trust?
They’re great at advertising, but bad at fulfilling a high quality product. Pistachios in a green bag are no different than pistachios in a white bag. As for POM juice, are there any other pomegranate juice brands you can think of at all? I’ve visited many grocery and health food stores all across the united states and have not seen one, at all, ever. Maybe that’s because they have all been bullied out of business. No competition means that the current product on the market can suffer in quality and still succeed. I’m not a fan of the monopoly mentality that the “wonderful” brand has.
Additionally: Wonderful Brand Pistachios Are Processed in Chlorine And Had a Recent Salmonella Outbreak…
According to FoodSafetyNews.com, Wonderful brand pistachios has had a recent outbreak of Salmonella in their nuts. The FDA visited Paramound Farms (the farm) and took 30 nut samples. Of the 30 a total of 5 samples contained salmonella in a few different forms of the strain. That means that from the sample they took a whopping 16.6% of pistachios grown on their farm were contaminated with salmonella.
They recalled the product for a short time but barely any people heard about the recall. 11 people were hospitalized from ages of 27 to 69 years old with the median age being 41 years old. Of the 10 interviewed 8 shared that they had eaten wonderful brand pistachios in the previous week. You can see the CDC issuing a recall on pistachio brand products on their website by clicking here.
Furthermore, the website FoodSafetyNews.com shares that in response to the recall the wonderful brand shared:
In that response, the company proposed to study the optimal chlorine level in its processing tanks and install a system to remove foreign material prior to moving the pistachios into storage, the warning letter stated.
“However, you did not provide us with documentation demonstrating the effectiveness of these changes and any other changes you have made to prevent a reoccurrence of an outbreak,” FDA noted, adding that it would need documentation, including photographs, of corrective actions taken to date and any other pertinent information that might help evaluate such corrections.
Read that again. They use chlorine to process the pistachios. Love your nuts? How about dipping them in chlorine!
If you’re a health conscious consumer like myself you understand that chlorine is a corrosive agent that you do not want to be putting in your body. That’s why I buy a water filter and shower filter so that the water I drink or apply to my skin is chlorine-FREE.
The more I dig into the “Wonderful” brand the more I find bad business. To top it all off they market their products as healthy. Healthy pomegranate juice, healthy pistachios, healthy citrus fruits. Are they really though? I don’t see a USDA organic certification seal, or any organic certified seal for that matter.
I question the quality as a highly health conscious consumer personally. That’s my take.
If you look at the POM Wonderful wikipedia page you’ll see that their holding company is also claiming to produce an “eco-friendly pesticide” as well. I looked into that a bit and question the validity of their claims there also. The company is suterra and produces pheromone based pesticides to disrupt pest mating cycles.
You can watch their positive spun video here:
0:48 seconds in: “With mating disruption, pest populations are reduced generations after generation.”
To me, this sounds a bit like pest population control. When I initially saw this video I wanted and hoped for the best but to create a pheromone in a lab that disrupts pest mating cycles I question. Those are still synthetic chemicals. They may not be as bad as pouring a bunch of pesticides but there may be other harmful effects we are unaware of currently. Effects that influence the plants and soil that you may eat or drink in their POM juice or pistachio brands.
Personally, I don’t want any sex disrupting chemicals (that’s what a pheromone is) added to the soil or plants near what I eat. That’s my take. Even if it is more environmentally friendly than pesticides or insecticides. I’d rather have nothing personally.
I question this brand and line of products. I’ve chosen to opt-out and not buy any of their products. They also produce FIJI water which is another well-advertised rip-off. Selling high priced water with a nice picture on the front. I’m not a fan of bottled water companies in general. You can buy a water purification device and get higher quality water at a much cheaper cost while avoiding filling landfills with plastic.
Try buying actual pomegranates and eating them or juicing them yourself. I was at Kroger the other day and my girlfriend was about to pick up a bag of Wonderful brand pistachios and instead she listened to my crazy opinions (thank you babe!) and bought kroger brand certified organic pistachios instead. For guess how much? Practically the same price! Why compromise product quality for a fancy package that you throw away in the end?
Here’s a full list of the brands that the Wonderful company owns. Please avoid them if you feel their business and production processes are unethical at best. Also, please share this with your friends and family on facebook as well.
Sources: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/10/fda-warns-wonderful-co-about-pistachio-processing-plant/#.WNq3QWjyvIU, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POM_Wonderful#cite_note-Pom_Illegal_Claims-4