Health claims in food - Strict interpretation of 'accompany'

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) has added a specific ruling and strict interpretation on what constitutes a specific authorised health claim 'accompanying' another general health claim.

Last month (July 2016) the ASA held that Kellogg had breached Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims by reason of what the ASA interpreted was meant by the word 'accompany'. Regulation 1924/2006 maintains that a general health claims may only be made about a food product if it can be 'accompanied' by a specific authorised health claim. 

The ad in question was for Special K porridge and featured various scenes of ingredients. The voice-over stated, "Special K. Full of deliciousness. Full of colour. And now, with pomegranate, pumpkin seeds and raspberries. Our new five grain super porridge is full of goodness." On-screen text stated, "Special K porridge contains vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin". 

  • The general health claim was 'full of goodness'.
  • The specific authorised health claim was 'contains vitamin B2 which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin.' 

Despite these two claims being made in the same TV ad the ASA held that to comply with the Regulation the specific authorised health claim should be made "next to or immediately following" the general health claim.

This finding was reinforced with a further complaint on webpages where you had to click through two pages to reach the specific authorised health claim for the particular product.

This is an extremely strict interpretation of the legislation and reflects the stance that has been taken on interpretation of health claims on food. It emphasises the need for very careful checks to be made wherever and however a health claim is made on a food.

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