Watchdog bites over organic ads

12 July 2000

Watchdog bites over organic ads

By FWi staff

THE Soil Association is to appeal against a ruling that it made misleading claims about the benefits of eating organic food.

Advertising Standards Authority officials have upheld four out of five complaints regarding a Soil Association leaflet published last November.

The 5 Reasons to Eat Organic leaflet claimed that consumers would “taste the difference” between organic food and conventional produce.

It also claimed that organic food was “healthy”, “better for the environment”, “means healthy happy animals” and was “GMO-free”.

But the National Office of Animal Health, which lobbies for veterinary medicine manufacturers, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Roger Cook, NOAH director, said: “Some proponents of organic farming tend to promote themselves by attacking the 97% of British farmers who farm conventionally.”

The authority ruled against the Soil Association over four out of the five claims. But it rejected the complaint about the associations “GMO-free” claim.

The Soil Association has now referred the ruling to Sir John Caines, the independent reviewer of Advertising Standards Authority adjudications.

Robin Maynard, Soil Association campaigns director, claimed the ruling failed to understand the strict legal provisions governing organic farming.

“We expect the National Office of Animal Health to promote its agribusiness members interests, but were amazed by the ASA ruling,” he said.

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