ASA Breach Ruling: Aminoliq

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Posted 21 October 2011

In Aminoliq / H A Steinman / 16595 (24 February 2011) the Directorate accepted the respondent’s voluntary undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised by the complainant. The undertaking was accepted for the respondent’s advertising on its website www.prohealth.co.za, which stated, inter alia, the following: “Aminoliq contains the specialised ingredients, Choline and Inositol. Together they are effective in metabolising fat. Inositol is also an active factor of the B-Complex vitamins. Amino acids are included in this formula to improve muscle definition, i.e. body shape. Aminoliq promotes the utilization of fats & carbohydrates in the body. The net result is that excess fat is more readily burned resulting in a leaner & more defined body. Amino acids are utilised to rebuild muscle & body tissue. Vitamin B complex aids in the digestive process. Vitamin C aids in the formation of collagen and inter cellular material”. The respondent’s attention was drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which requires problematic advertising or claims to be removed from all media in which they appear, irrespective of whether or not the complainant took issue with such media. In an email dated 29 September 2011, the complainant lodged a breach complaint against the respondent’s website advertising. It was submitted that the respondent continued to make unsubstantiated claims for its product.

Aminoliq / HA Steinman / 16595
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Sport Health and Fitness Technologies (Pty) Ltd Respondent

21 Oct 2011
http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5794

BACKGROUND
In Aminoliq / H A Steinman / 16595 (24 February 2011) the Directorate accepted the respondent’s voluntary undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised by the complainant. The undertaking was accepted for the respondent’s advertising on its website www.prohealth.co.za, which stated, inter alia, the following:

“Aminoliq contains the specialised ingredients, Choline and Inositol. Together they are effective in metabolising fat. Inositol is also an active factor of the B-Complex vitamins. Amino acids are included in this formula to improve muscle definition, i.e. body shape.

Aminoliq promotes the utilization of fats & carbohydrates in the body. The net result is that excess fat is more readily burned resulting in a leaner & more defined body. Amino acids are utilised to rebuild muscle & body tissue.

Vitamin B complex aids in the digestive process.

Vitamin C aids in the formation of collagen and inter cellular material”.

The respondent’s attention was drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which requires problematic advertising or claims to be removed from all media in which they appear, irrespective of whether or not the complainant took issue with such media.

SUBSEQUENT TO THIS RULING
In an email dated 29 September 2011, the complainant lodged a breach complaint against the respondent’s website advertising. It was submitted that the respondent continued to make unsubstantiated claims for its product.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTIC
In light of the breach allegation the Directorate considered Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide (Enforcement of rulings) as relevant.

RESPONSE
The respondent submitted that its Aminoliq product packaging and supporting documents were changed. It was an oversight that the website was not updated and it will be done immediately.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

The Directorate is currently only tasked with determining whether the respondent is in breach of the previous ASA Directorate ruling.

Clause 15.1 of the Procedural Guide states that “The responsibility for adherence to a ruling made by the Directorate or the ASA Committees lies with the person against whom such ruling has been made”.

The wording appearing on the website at the time of breach reads as follows:

“Aminoliq
Category – Slimming

Flavours – Original, Butterscotch

Size – 500ml

Suggested Price – R107.30

Aminoliq, a dietary supplement, particularly suitable for slimmers or anyone wanting to cut excess fat and improve body shape. Sports people, needing to cut body fat percentage and increase muscle definition can ideally use Aminoliq. The product also acts as a tonic due to the inclusion of the energy giving B-complex vitamins.

Amiinoliq contains the specialised ingredients, Choline and Inositol. Together they are effective in metabolising fat. Inositol is also an active factor of the B-Complex vitamins. Amino acids are included in this formula to improve muscle definition, i.e. body shape.

Aminoliq promotes the utilization of fats & carbohydrates in the body. The net result is that excess fat is more redily burned resulting in a leaner & more defined body. Amino acids are utilised to rebuild muscle & body tissue …”

The respondent has not denied being in breach of the ruling. It did, however, submit that “Further to Mr Steinman’s initial objection to the words ‘liquid fat burner’, [its] Aminoliq packaging and supporting documents were changed”, and that the website was an oversight, which will be corrected immediately.

Given the above, it is clear that the respondent was in breach of Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide.

It is somewhat concerning that the respondent “overlooked” the website when the original complaint and in fact the ASA ruling specifically quoted from the website.

However, given that the respondent has ex facie already amended its packaging and supporting advertising to comply with the ruling, the Directorate is willing to accept the respondent’s explanation for now.

The respondent is cautioned, however, that the responsibility to ensure compliance with the ASA ruling lies with it. Should further justified breach allegations be received, the Directorate may consider the imposition of additional sanctions as allowed for in Clause 14 of the Procedural Guide. This ruling may also be taken into consideration at such a time.

The respondent is again instructed to permanently remove the relevant claims from its website with immediate effect.

The breach allegation is upheld but no sanctions are imposed at this time.

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