Pomegranate juice maker Pom Wonderful, which became a target of animal rights activists because of research the company did into its juice's medical benefits, said Wednesday that it had stopped testing on animals.
"Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice has ceased all animal testing, and we have no plans to do so in the future," Lynda and Stewart Resnick wrote to all Pom retailers by e-mail or post Wednesday.
The Resnicks own Los Angeles-based Roll International Corp., a holding company that operates Pom and other businesses. A copy of their letter was obtained by Reuters.
Last month, an animal rights group claimed that it had tampered with 487 bottles of Pom juice, prompting Wild Oats Markets Inc., the No. 2 U.S. natural and organic grocer, to pull the product from shelves in some of its East Coast stores.
Pom called the tampering claim "a cruel hoax" Wednesday, and a Wild Oats spokeswoman said the grocery chain had returned Pom drinks to the shelves after testing showed that the products had not been tampered with.
"In our quest to discover how pomegranate juice can help treat human diseases and conditions such as arteriolosclerosis, prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction and birth defects, it was sometimes necessary to fund animal testing," Pom said in the letter.
Pom's decision came as Whole Foods Market Inc. told Reuters that it had decided to stop selling the company's juice and associated tea blends by April 1 if Pom continued to fund studies that might include animal testing.