ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Penta UK
26 Bridge Street
2 March 2005
Food and drink
Objections to a leaflet for bottled water. The front cover showed a bottle of water with the text "Drink this it makes you feel good! ... - Easy to drink* - Proven faster, better hydration - No sloshing or fullness ... take the Penta challenge: DRINK 500ML WITHIN 10 MINUTES and you may not believe the difference you''ll feel! ... ''It might be just H20, but it''s no ordinary water''... "; the smallprint stated "*Penta is ultra-purified, restructured ''micro-water''. Ground breaking science - proven by patent. Less than 0.3 parts per million total dissolved solids. Just H20 in smaller stable clusters ". Inside the leaflet, text stated " ... You too can use Penta (1-4 bottles a day) to enjoy what we call ''Bio-hydration'' - optimal cellular hydration that makes your body come alive ... Penta is proven to hydrate more efficiently due to its unique structure ... Scientific research; It''s been shown by researchers at the University of Calif. at San Diego that Penta water hydrates cells faster and more effectively than other waters. Researchers at Moscow University demonstrated that Penta improves the environment within your cells ... ". The back page of the leaflet was headlined "why is Penta so different?" and showed photographs of mustard seeds germinated in tap water beside those in Penta water. The text stated "Unique patented structure ... proven at the prestigious General Physic Institute ... The US Patent Office recently granted patent ... With unparalleled purity (
1. the leaflet misleadingly implied the product had health benefits over and above those of ordinary water and
2. the claims "restructured" and "it might be just H2O, but it''s no ordinary water" were misleading, because they believed that water could not be restructured.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers asserted that Penta was a new form of water that was restructured. They submitted research papers that they believed showed scientific evidence of restructuring and several works in preparation, including studies from UK universities, that they believed showed increased performance and recovery levels after exercise with Penta when compared with ordinary water. The advertisers argued that, because Penta could hydrate more efficiently than tap water, it was better for health; they said they had not, however, made any medicinal claims for the product. They said their local Trading Standards department had checked all their literature; they also sent a revised copy of their advertisement that they believed complied with the CAP Code.
The Authority considered that readers would be likely to interpret the claims made in the original leaflet and the revised leaflet to mean the molecular structure of water had been altered in the advertised product for improved hydration and physical performance. The Authority took expert advice and understood that the scientific evidence submitted did not prove that Penta had health benefits over and above those of ordinary water or had been restructured to form stable smaller clusters. It also understood that hydrogen-bonds in ordinary water were a weak type of chemical bonding that allowed the formation and reformation of temporary clusters of water molecules in liquid phase water many times per second. The Authority concluded that the information submitted was not sufficient to prove Penta water had health benefits over and above those of ordinary water or was structured differently from ordinary water. The Authority told the advertisers not to repeat claims that implied the product was chemically unique, had been restructured or molecularly redesigned, or hydrated cells and improved physical performance better than tap water. It told the advertisers to amend their advertisements and advised them to seek help with the amendments from the CAP Copy Advice team.