Another WDDTY advertiser in hot water
Challenging misleading healthcare claims
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Another WDDTY advertiser in hot water
This time, we submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about an ad by Water for Health Ltd in the December 2014 and January 2015 issues and the advertiser's website. In their adjudication published today, the ASA identified two points and upheld them both.
Because of the number and extent of the claims being made, the points relate to those claims made on the advertiser's website, but the ruling applies to all media where the same claims are made — including WDDTY ads, of course.
The WDDTY ad and their website made several claims about the health properties of water: not just any water, but 'healthy alkaline ionised water'. The website claimed:
Their website also contained claims for a number of food supplements including chlorella, chia seedsia seeds, organic flax seeds oil, Brocco forte (a broccoli extract), organic prunes and 'maximised turmeric curcuminoids.
The claims we complained about included:
And some testimonials:
The ASA listed many of these and condensed them down to two points of complaint:
Water for Health told the ASA that although they disagreed with the issues raised they had revised their advertising.
In their assessment, the ASA cited EC Regulation 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods and pointed out that they were part of their CAP Code, saying:
The ASA detailed the issues they had with the claims made and concluded:
Pretty damning. The ad therefore breached CAP Code rules 15.1, 15.1.1, 15.2 and 15.6.2 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutritional claims).
The second point of the complaint was about the claims for alkaline water. The ASA ruled:
The ad therefore breached CAP Code rule 15.2 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutritional claims).
Overall, the ASA ruled:
So another misleading WDDTY advertiser.
Although the adjudication doesn't mention the ad in WDDTY explicitly, as always, the adjudication covers all adverts regardless of the medium: after all, if a claim is misleading in one medium, it will be just as misleading in others.
The latest tally
With this one, we now have 11 adjudications and 12 informally resolved cases against WDDTY advertisers and at least one of these advertisers — and WDDTY regular — Wholistic Research, has now ceased trading:
The ASA provide several pages of guidance on the rules for health and nutrition claims for foods including:
These rules stem from the European Commission Regulation No 1924/2006 — the various authorised and non-authorised claims can be checked in the EU Register on nutrition and health claims.
(The ASA also helpfully provide a (non-exhaustive) list of some 444 Acts and regulations affecting advertising.)
The Government also produce Guidance on nutrition and health claims on foods, which states:
With all this advice and guidance, there should be no need for any advertiser to make non-authorised nutrition and health claims for foods. Additionally, the ASA offer free advice to advertisers via their Copy Advice Team as well as other help to prospective advertisers.
If Water for Health weren't aware of authorised and non-authorised claims under the Regulations, they are now. We welcome their decision to amend their advertising even if that initially did not go far enough to satisfy the ASA. They have made other changes, but we don't think it yet complies and we hope that they will look again at the claims they made for the products mentioned in the ASA's adjudication and ensure that they are now compliant.
They might also like to check the claims they make about the other products they advertise — whether on their website or in the pages of What Doctors Don't Tell You.
There can be no excuse for not complying with the rules, regulations and laws in place to protect the public.
27 May 2015
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Alan & Maria
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