14 May 1999

MLC is cleared of misleading advert charge

ADVERTISING watchdogs have cleared the Meat and Livestock Commission of charges that an advert promoting the value of red meat in babies diets was misleading.

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the advert, which highlighted the need of four- to six-month-old children to have iron (such as found in red meat), was not exaggerated.

In its adjudication, the authority rejected complaints that the advert was misleading and irresponsible in suggesting that breast milk alone was not good enough for babies over four-months-old.

"The authority noted that the advertisement reflected COMA (the governments Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy) expressed concerns that diets used during weaning commonly failed to provide enough absorbable iron.

"It considered the advertisers had not acted irresponsibly in emphasising the benefit of iron for young babies," the ASA stated.

MLC dietician Fiona Winter said: "Red meat is important to children of that age not only for the iron it contains itself, but because it also helps them absorb iron from other foods such as vegetables.

"We are not suggesting any substitute for breast milk, but pointing out the need for extra iron." &#42