The ALCAT has made a number of claims in adverts, including: “A tremendous number of health problems have been linked to food intolerances – these may be common everyday problems like: migraines and chronic headaches aching joints or frank arthritis gastrointestinal disorders (including IBS, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis) chronic or unexplained fatigue eczema and chronic skin disorders hyperactivity or other varieties of ADD obesity and unexplained weight gain asthma”.

COMPLAINT The complainant submitted that the advertisements mislead consumers by making unsubstantiated claims with regard to product as there are no credible, scientific or peer-reviewed studies that support the respondent’s claims.

RULING: “Given the absence of any independent, credible verification, there is nothing before the Directorate to unequivocally verify that that product is capable of achieving the claimed results.”

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UK ASA Ruling: Abtronic X2 / Thane Direct

As usual, claims for electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) devices, which claim to result in a great muscles and toned body, build muscles, six-packs, etc, are no more than unsubstantiated claims, and in most case mostly scams. Here is a recent UK ASA decision against one of these devices, the Abtronic X2

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StemEnhance: ASA Appeal ruling

Posted 21 September 2009

Professor Carr appealed the previous ASA ruling in favour of StemEnhance. In 2009, the ASA were not as rigorous with confirming whether an individual was a credible expert. Ms Viviane Ponte substantiated this product. It is my contention that she either lied or is incompetent for there is simply not a single study conducted on humans that confirms the claims for this product.

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UK ASA ruling: Nivea DNAge Cell Renewal Day Cream

A magazine ad, for Nivea DNAge Cell Renewal Day Cream, claimed, among other, that the product will result in "firmer skin" and "DNAGE CELL RENEWAL", a product "which boosts surface skin cell renewal leaving you with noticeably firmer looking skin." 

 A consumer laid a complaint with the UK ASA arguing that the claims were misleading, "because it failed to make clear that the cream may only have a temporary, visible effect on the skin", and the product name "DNAGE CELL RENEWAL" misleadingly implied that the product could in some way regenerate cells".

The UK ASA agreed, ruling in favour of the complainant (but not completely).

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USN Cellu-Firm – ASA Sanctions – 15 July 2009

The original ruling against the claims for USN Cellu-Firm was made in November 2006. Three years later, USN was still making unsubstantiated claims for this product and in essence, ignoring ASA rulings, and in spite of previous sanctions. A consumer laid a complaint arguing that severe sanctions should be implemented. The ASA imposed sanctions, but not of any significance.

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ALCAT – Complaint to Competition Commission

Dr Pridgeon laid a complaint with the Competition Commission of South Africa against Dr Harris Steinman arguing that the latter was trying to prevent the ALCAT from getting market share of allergy testing in the South African market.

Dr Steinman argued that the test is not scientically validated for all the claims being made for the tests, and that in fact there is no evidence that the ALCAT can predict what foods are involved in the range of symptoms and diseases it claims to be.

Following an investigation by the Competition Commission, the following report, with devasting results for Dr Pridgeon and the ALCAT, was released.

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Hoodia Slender Gel

Posted 29 June 2009

A complaint of breach against the previous ASA ruling was laid with the ASA against this product.  To reiterate, there is simply no evidence that any of the ingredients in this product, when taken orally, can fulfil any of the claims being made for the product, and the chance that it therefore works via skin absorbption is simply ridiculous.

The ASA ruled against the product as there is no evidence that the product works, yet the ASA somehow has allowed this company to claim: “all claims for efficacy of Hoodia Slender Gel are based on consumer survey data. This product is not intended to treat, diagonose or cure any disease.” This is simply bizarre!

The ASA code states  very clearly in Clause 4.1 of Section II of the ASA’s Code states “Before advertising is published, advertisers shall hold in their possession documentary evidence as set out Read the rest

USN Cellu-Firm – ASA Breach ruling – 8 June 2009

USN continued to make unsubstantiated claims for Cellu-Firm, resulting in a breach complaint to the ASA. The ASA ruled in favour of the consumer.

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UK ASA ruling: Bi-Aura Therapy

A regional press ad, for a therapy, stated "BI-AURA THERAPY Practitioner … This non-invasive therapy works on the body's energy field by correcting imbalances. With the energy flow restored, the body can start healing itself.

Some of the conditions that have responded favourably: allergies, arthritis, asthma, back problems, depression, fatigue, insomnia, ME and stress-related conditions".


1. The complainant challenged whether the Mirjam Wigman could substantiate the efficacy claims for the treatment.

2. The ASA challenged whether the ad was likely to discourage readers from seeking suitably qualified medical treatment for serious medical conditions such as depression and ME.

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ASA Ruling: Insupro Forte

The complainant submitted that the advertisement offers oral insulin, which does not exist as all insulin on the market has to be given by injections.

The advertisement also claims that the product is effective on sugar control, reductions of complications, restoration of pancreatic function. No references of these claims are given.

The complainant further submitted that the advertisement is misleading and irresponsible as it may lead to death of Type 1 diabetes patients if they stop their present insulin treatment.

The ASA considered the complaint and the response from the respondent, and ruled . . . 

UPDATE Insupro Forte was declared an undesirable medicine by the Medicines Control Council on 4 August 2009. This in effect "bans" the product in South Africa.

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