British Advertising Standards Authority
Adjudication on Health Products for Life
Health Products for Life Ltd
PO Box 47043
Date: 30 January 2008
Sector: Health and beauty
Number of complaints: 1
Complaint Ref: 27912
A brochure, for Health Products for Life, included an ad headed "Food Intolerance Indicator Test from YORKTEST Laboratories". Below, it stated "A simple, unique YES/NO test that you can do at home. Provides accurate, reproducible laboratory testing for food intolerance using a pin-prick of blood. If your result is positive you can discover exactly what foods are implicated with the 113 foodSCAN test (also available from health products for life). Only £19.99 incl. FREE p&p"
A consumer believed the ad was misleading because he understood that allergy testing kits had been shown to be inaccurate. He challenged the efficacy of the test for identifying food intolerances.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
Health Products for Life (HPFL) said they were no longer using the brochure. They said this was the first complaint they had received about the Yorktest Laboratories Food Intolerance Indicator Test, which they had been selling for a number of years. They sent a number of research papers and reports to substantiate the efficacy of the test.
The ASA noted HPFL provided research papers to support the claims for the Food Intolerance Test. However, we were concerned that the studies were conducted on people suffering from chronic medical conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and migraine and considered that the findings did not support a general claim for diagnosis of food intolerance. We noted one of the studies was published in an academic peer-reviewed journal, but also noted that it did not refer to food intolerance among the general population and also stated that further clinical research was required. We concluded that the evidence submitted was not sufficiently robust to prove the efficacy of the tests for diagnosing food intolerance.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1(Health and beauty products).
We told HPFL not to use the ad again and advised them to seek guidance from the CAP Copy Advice team before producing similar ads in future.
This article was posted on June 20, 2012.