Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, all were Upheld.
A website promoting a weight loss supplement, www.recipeslimdown.com, was presented in the form of a news article headed "Raspberry Ketone Diet Exposed: Miracle Diet or Scam?" Text stated "Julia investigates the Raspberry Ketone diet to find out for herself if this super diet works … Julia Miller, our Health and Diet columnist, recently put the Raspberry Ketone Diet to the test. After four weeks of testing the effects of UK's Newest Superfood combined with a colon cleanser, she has reached the conclusion to what this diet is all about, and the results were surprising. She lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks". The article featured Julia describing her four-week weight loss experience having chosen to combine "Mizulean" and "PuraCleanse" for her study. "Mizulean" linked to the website www.slimzene.com and "PuraCleanse" linked to the website, www.neucleanse.com.
Further text stated "Here is what Mizulean claimed on their website 4 Times More Weight Loss Than Diet And Exercise Boosts Energy Throught [sic] the Day Effective ... Works Quickly, Proven Results ...". At the end of the article text stated "I Lost 25lbs in 4 weeks, No Special Diet, No Intense Exercise".
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the ad breached the CAP Code, because it referred to a rate or amount of weight loss;
2. the health claims were authorised on the EU Register and met the associated conditions of use; and
3. the ad was misleading, because it was presented as a news article and did not make clear that it was marketing material.
Natural Health Network did not provide a substantive response to the complaints.
The ASA noted the ad made references to a rate or amount of weight loss, which was not permitted in relation to food or food supplements. We therefore concluded that it breached the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 15.6.6 15.6.6 Health claims that refer to a rate or amount of weight loss. (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims).
Natural Health Network had not provided any evidence to demonstrate that the health claims in the ad were authorised on the EU Register of nutrition and health claims and met the associated conditions of use. We therefore concluded that they breached the Code.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications that contain nutrition or health claims must be supported by documentary evidence to show they meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim, as specified in the EU Register. Claims must be presented clearly and without exaggeration.
Only nutrition claims listed in the updated Annex of the EU Regulation (as reproduced in the EU Register) may be used in marketing communications.
Only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register, or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer may be used in marketing communications.
http://www.ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/claims/community_register/authorised_health_claims_en.htm. and 15.7 15.7 Nutrition and health claims for food supplements must be permitted or authorised as provided for at rule 15.1.1 above. Marketing communications that contain nutrition or health claims must be supported by documentary evidence to show they meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim as specified in the EU Register. (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims).
We considered the presentation and content of the ad implied it was editorial material which had been written by an independent party. Because that was not the case, and the ad was not clearly marked as an advertorial, we concluded that it breached the Code.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 2.1 2.1 Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such. and 2.4 2.4 Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them "advertisement feature". (Recognition of marketing communications).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Natural Health Network not to make health claims unless they were authorised on the EU Register and not to state a rate or amount of weight loss. We also told them to ensure that marketing communications were obviously identifiable as such.