South African ad authority hard on Monsanto

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority has ordered Monsanto to withdraw an ad in the widely read You magazine. The full-page magazine advert titled 'Biotechnology -- the true facts', sought to assure South Africans about the safety of gm foods. It, in fact, held that gm foods were "safer and more nutritious than natural food".

However, the truth of the advertisement was challenged by Mark Wells, an organic farmer from East London. Wells lodged a complaint of misleading or false advertising with South Africa's advertising body. The company was then asked to provide substantiating evidence from an independent and credible expert for its claims, which it was unable to do.

Monsanto was ordered to immediately withdraw their claim and given the standard polite warning, which applies to all advertisers in South Africa, "that in future they must make sure that they can substantiate any claims before they publish them".

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