THE COMMITTEE of Advertising Practice has accepted a range of statements that companies can use to promote the benefits of organic food and farming.

The statements acknowledge that organic food and farming is beneficial to human health, animal welfare and wildlife.

They have been accepted by the CAP for use in advertisements, in promotional leaflets and as part of on-pack sales promotions such as a prize competitions or ‘buy one, get one free‘ offers.

The CAP has said that the statements do not appear to contravene the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code), but it emphasised that this advice in no way affected the advertiser‘s obligation to ensure that the marketing is legal.

Among the 22 statements approved are:

  • No system of farming has higher levels of animal welfare standards than organic farms working to Soil Association standards
  • No food has higher amounts of beneficial minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins than organic food
  • The best method of reducing exposure to potentially harmful pesticides would be to consume organically grown food, where their use is avoided
  • Eating organic food allows people to avoid hydrogenated fats completely.

The statements were cleared by the CAP following months of research by the Soil Association.

In the last few years, a number of complaints have been made to the Advertising Standards Authority about claims relating to organic food, some of which have been upheld.

In order to clarify what can be said in relation to the health and wider benefits of organic food and farming, the SA produced a dossier of existing evidence to support the claims that were subsequently accepted by the CAP.

Martin Cottingham, the SA‘s marketing director said: “There is strong evidence that organic food is good for health and the environment, and companies need to be confident that they can communicate these benefits to their customers, without fear of reprisal.”