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Supreme Court Rules POM Can Sue Coca-Cola Over Labeling

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The U.S. Supreme Court has green-lighted a lawsuit by the makers of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice against Coca-Cola over the soft-drink giant's labeling on one of its products.

Minute Maid, which is a division of Coca-Cola, sells a juice that features the words "pomegranate blueberry" on its label, even though it contains just a few drops of each of those.

That didn't sit well with POM, which makes a pomegranate-blueberry blend and wanted to sue its rival for deceptive trade practice. Coca-Cola said the suit should be tossed because the label met Food and Drug Administration standards.

After lower courts sided with Coca-Cola, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed course and said the suit could go forward.

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POM, meanwhile, is in court on another matter — fighting an order from the Federal Trade Commission that barred it from making certain health claims in its advertising.

The FTC said that if POM wants to say its juice and supplements protect against heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction, it needs to prove it with clinical trials.

— Pete Williams

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