LOS ANGELES --
POM Wonderful, a leading producer of pomegranate juice, said it is the victim of a hoax perpetuated by an animal rights group that told the media it intentionally contaminated bottles of POM Wonderful juices sold in stores along the East Coast, according to published reports. A spokesman for The Food Emporium, one of the chains named by the Animal Rights Militia, told the New York Post store workers had been asked to check juice bottles for signs of tampering. In a statement released to the media, officials at POM said they have found no evidence of contamination of products, and had not received any reports of complaints from customers or retailers. The company urged consumers to check the break-away, tamper-evident bottle caps before drinking the juice. Animal rights activists have been pressuring POM to sign a statement renouncing animal research, and the company refused to do so, officials said. Only a small portion of the company's research involves testing on animals, and it never includes dogs, cats or primates, POM Wonderful said.