A post by @TonicHealth on TikTok, seen on 16 October 2022, featured a video of a man in the medicines aisle of a shop who stated, “Guys here’s a health hack for your immune system, ditch the Lemsip this winter in favour of Tonic Recover.” Holding up a box of the product, on-screen text appeared while he said “[…] so what you want to do is flood the body with loads of good vitamins, minerals and plants, this has real lemon and ginger in it, as well as C, D and Zinc that’s going to help your immune system fight back. It’s fuel for your immune system to fight the virus.”
The complainant, challenged whether the claims “help your immune system fight back” and “fuel for your immune system to fight the virus” stated or implied that a food prevented, treated or cured human disease, which was prohibited by the Code.
Tonic Nutrition Ltd t/a Tonic Health said they had removed the video. They said it was a known fact that vitamins helped to support the immune system and that the immune system was responsible for fighting back against viruses. They said the claim was just stating a biological fact that could not be denied.
The CAP Code stated that claims which stated or implied a food could prevent, treat or cure human disease were prohibited for foods.
The ad stated the Tonic Recover product would “help your immune system fight back” and “fuel your immune system to fight the virus”. The ASA considered consumers would understand from the ad that consuming the product could treat or cure viruses. While we welcomed Tonic Health’s action to remove the ad, because at the time it was seen it included claims that a food supplement could prevent, treat or cure disease, we therefore concluded that it breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 15.6 and 15.6.2 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims).
The ad must not appear again the form complained of. We told Tonic Nutrition Ltd t/a Tonic Health to ensure that their future ads did not state or imply that their food products could prevent, treat or cure human disease.