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Product: Food (Probiotics)
Advertiser: Life Pharmacy
Agency: Focus Advertising
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 4.4, 8.8, 8.9, 8.10, 8.11. 8.25, 8.26, 8.27
Radio advertising for Life Pharmacy referred to the following:
MVO: Healthy lessons for all the family with (name of person) - Smyth's Life Pharmacy, Dundalk - one of over 60 Life Pharmacies nationwide.
FVO: Back to school bugs can really challenge a child's immune system but taking a probiotic provides good gut bacteria that can boost the immune system to help avoid missed school days.
MVO: This September, Life Pharmacy has exclusive loyalty offers including kids' probiotic for only €5. For participating pharmacies, go to lifepharmacy.ie
The complainant queried whether there was scientific evidence available to substantiate the claims made in the advertisement. The complainant considered that if such evidence was not available that the advertisement was misleading.
The advertisers said that the advertisement had featured tips from Life Pharmacists and had been pre-approved by them. They considered that the advertisement had not made a definitive claim around the effects of probiotics. What it had stated was that probiotics ‘can’ boost the immune system.
The Executive noted from the Food Safety Authority’s website  that there were no approved health claims for probiotics, and that no claims for probiotics were listed on the EU register.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that no substantiation or documentary evidence has been offered for the claims made in the advertising.
The Complaints Committee also noted that only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register, or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer, may be used in marketing communications. They noted that there were no approved health claims for probiotics on the EU Register.
The Committee concluded that the advertising had breached Sections 4.1, 8.8, 8.9, 8.11, and 8.25 of the Code.
The advertising should not appear in the same format again.