Ivan Penn, who writes the Consumer's Edge column that appears regularly in the Times, also answers reader questions about consumer issues on our website (tampabay.com/news/business; look for Consumer's Edge heading). We occasionally publish some of those in this space.
POM juice not that wonderful
Do POM Wonderful 100% Pure Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements help with heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction as promotions have indicated?
It appears POM has fallen into what Consumer's Edge refers to as health benefit hyperbole (HBH). The Federal Trade Commission cited POM for making false and unsubstantiated claims regarding the health benefits of POM Wonderful 100% Pure Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements.
"Any consumer who sees POM Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled," said David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "When a company touts scientific research in its advertising, the research must squarely support the claims made. Contrary to POM Wonderful's advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses."
For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/09/pom.shtm.
Low-income phone assistance
Where can I find low-income assistance to connect telephone service in my home, and is there help with the cost of the service?
There are assistance programs for telephone service that the state Public Service Commission urges those in need to review. Low-income Floridians can apply for the Link-Up Florida and Lifeline assistance programs. Link-Up offers a 50 percent rebate in the telephone hook-up charge (up to $30), while Lifeline Assistance gives a $13.50 credit per month on local phone bills.
You are eligible if you receive state or federal help from: temporary cash assistance; food stamps; Medicaid; Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8); National School Lunch (NSL) Program's free lunch program.
For information, visit www.psc.state.fl.us/utilities/telecomm/lifeline/engbrochure.aspx or call toll-free 1-800-540-7039 for assistance.
Benefits of grass-fed meat
Why is grass-fed meat the healthier red meat option?
John Wood, founder of U.S. Wellness Meats and a lifelong farmer, says grass-fed meat has many benefits for consumers in addition to food safety. For example, grass-fed meat is higher in vitamins A and E, lower in saturated fat and calories than conventional meat and high in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid or CLA.
For more information, visit www.uswellness meats.com.