ASA rules against coffee ad due to misleading health claims

LONDON - The ASA has ruled against an ad featured in a fitness newsletter after it was found to be misleadingly extolling the healthy qualities of coffee.

Coffee ad... censured
Coffee ad... censured

The ad provided several examples of how drinking coffee could improve health and well-being, however there was no scientific evidence.

A reader complained that the information was ambiguous as it implied for example, that 4-5 cups of coffee a day offered similar benefits as the government recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables.

The ASA also examined claims that a cup of coffee with an ibuprofen tablet had been shown to increase the painkilling effect.

The British Coffee Association (BCA) provided a dossier of evidence containing studies published in medical and scientific journals to support their claims.

The ASA accepted that the studies were of reputable scientific standard. However, the claim that 4-5 cups a day, is perfectly safe for the general population did not take into account pregnant women who are advised by the FSA to consume only 300mg of caffeine a day.

An expert for the ASA further said that the claim relating to coffee increasing the painkilling effect was supported by a number of studies.

However, the medicinal claim in relation to coffee is not permitted under a 1996 clause for Food Labelling Regulations.

The BCA agreed that the ad would not be repeated in its current form and that the ad was a one-off.