Posted 26 July 2014
In a previous ASA ruling against this company, (21 May 2012), the ASA ruled, inter alia, that the respondent’s advertising for its “Bio-Sil MMS” contained unsubstantiated claims in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code. It also found that the advertisement was likely to mislead people in a manner that was in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code. The respondent was instructed to withdraw the advertising in its current format within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future. An Ad Alert was issued to the ASA members with reference to the advertisement, asking members not to accept any advertising for the respondent’s.
|Seems to not have stopped these individuals (+27 11 6155504) from fleecing consumers.”Yvonne founded Bio-Sil in 1993.” “BIO-SIL is a family owned business . . “|
Bio Sil MMS / HA Steinman / 19687
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris A Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Bio-Sil South Africa cc Respondent
24 Jun 2014
In Bio Sil MMS / H A Steinman / 19687 (21 May 2012) the Directorate ruled, inter alia, that the respondent’s advertising for its “Bio-Sil MMS” contained unsubstantiated claims in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.
It also found that the advertisement was likely to mislead people in a manner that was in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code.
The claims appeared on the respondent’s internet advertising on the URL http://www.biosil.co.za/1964/bio-silmms-miracle-mineral-solution. When the link was accessed the following information was displayed:
“Bio-Sil MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution)
Approved by creator, Jim Humble.
This is an incredible product for fabulous health!
*These wonder drops offer a simple defence against viruses, bacteria, deviant cells and parasites wherever they may be lurking in the body.
*Also for body detoxification and elimination of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. *Candida yeast, viruses, and killer germs are destroyed on contact with activated MMS drops.
*MMS is a simple, inexpensive, powerful water purifier and germicidal agent.
This product has been tested over the past decade by 75,000 human volunteers whose diseases were eliminated, including malaria and tuberculosis.
*The chemistry of MMS enables it to be selective and accurate in differentiating between normal healthy living cells and pathogens.
Chemically it does not and cannot harm normal living body cells, as is explained for those who read further about the nature of chlorine dioxide (a gas) that makes this possible.”
The respondent was instructed to withdraw the advertising in its current format within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future.
An Ad Alert was issued to the ASA members with reference to the advertisement, asking members not to accept any advertising for the respondent’s Miracle Mineral Solution product.
SUBSEQUENT TO THESE RULING
On 17 April 2014, another consumer complainant, not party to the original dispute, Ms LL Steele, lodged a complaint against the respondent’s website, specifically the page on http://www.biosil.co.za/products/bio-sil-mms-miracle-mineral-solution, which promotes the Miracle Mineral Solution product
In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertisement is highly misleading and causes a potential danger to members of the public who might be seeking a cure for various health problems. People are consuming this product (which is effectively a bleach or disinfectant), and in instances giving it to their children without realising the severe health consequences this could have (which includes poisoning, kidney failure and harming red blood cells).
RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the breach allegations the Directorate considered Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide (Enforcement of rulings) as relevant.
Initially, the respondent submitted that she had done extensive research, and has not found any evidence of chlorine dioxide harming anybody. A request was made for the new complainant to provide proof of such harm.
The Directorate then explained that the investigation at this point is procedural in nature, as it relates to an apparent failure to comply with an earlier ruling. As a result, there was no expectation on the complainant to submit any research, because it was not relevant to the issue at hand. In response, a copy of the ASA ruling was requested, which was duly sent.
Since then, the respondent has not submitted any further correspondence. A phone call was made to ascertain whether or not the respondent had received documents from the Directorate. The respondent advised the relevant ASA member of staff that she was “not interested” anymore.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the complainant.
It should be noted that the respondent opted to ignore all reasonable requests for a response to the matter. The Directorate therefore had no option but to rule based on the material at hand.
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 essential question before the Directorate is whether or not the respondent’s advertisements are in breach of the original ruling. For this to be the case, the advertisements would have to be the same, or materially similar to the one originally complained of.
A preliminary examination of the respondent’s current website advertisement indicates that the respondent has persisted in making the same, or substantially similar claims as those previously ruled against. To date, however, the respondent had not submitted any acceptable evidence for such claims.
Accordingly, the respondent is in contravention of the Directorate ruling of 21 May 2012 and therefore in breach of Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide.
The breach allegation is upheld.
The Directorate is also mindful of the fact that there is already an Ad Alert in force which is supposed to prevent the respondent from placing its advertising with any of the ASA’s members. This ruling therefore supports and reinforces the said alert, and serves to remind members not to accept any advertising from Bio-Sil South Africa promoting its “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS).
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