Healing Mineral Spray – ASA Ruling

Posted 04 Februray 2015

A consumer lodged a consumer complaint against a Source Herbal radio commercial she heard on Radio 702 promoting their Healing Miracle Spray which claimed, inter alia, “… Healing Minerals sprays expel toxins and heavy metals, relaxing muscles …”

The complainant objected on the basis that heavy metal poisoning is a serious medical condition and this commercial may mislead people who need help to use the product instead of seeking adequate medical attention. She added that the “toxins” referred to in the commercial are not specified, and are not even proven to exist.

HEALING MINERAL SPRAY / C WAGNER / 2014 – 1800 F
Ruling of the: ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
CATHY WAGNER Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
SOURCE HERBAL SA (PTY) LTD Respondent
02 February 2015

http://www.asasa.org.za/rulings/healingmineralpray-cwagner-2014-1800f

Ms Wagner lodged a consumer complaint against a Source Herbal radio commercial she heard on Radio 702 promoting their Healing Miracle Spray.

The advertising states, inter alia, “… Healing Minerals sprays expel toxins and heavy metals, relaxing muscles …”

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant objected on the basis that heavy metal poisoning is a serious medical condition and this commercial may mislead people who need help to use the product instead of seeking adequate medical attention. She added that the “toxins” referred to in the commercial are not specified, and are not even proven to exist.

In reality, the body has its own mechanisms for removing waste products. Furthermore, heavy metal poisoning requires chelation of the blood in hospital. Spraying some product on the skin will have no effect.
RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses were taken into consideration:
Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation
Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims
RESPONSE
The respondent initially advised that it was awaiting feedback from the Magnesium Health Institute in Holland, but that it has taken proactive steps by rewording the commercial to exclude the references to toxins and heavy metals.

In subsequent correspondence it advised that it had still not received feedback from the Magnesium Health Institute. It confirmed that the reworded commercial makes no reference to heavy metals or toxins, and that it would not be using the original commercial again in future.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter

The respondent submitted that the commercial complained of has been amended to exclude the references to toxins and heavy metals, so as to address the complaint. It also confirmed that the original commercial would not be used again in future.

As this appears to address the complainant’s concerns, the Directorate is willing to accept the voluntary removal of the disputed claims as an adequate resolution to the matter.

In terms of this undertaking and the Directorate’s acceptance thereof, the respondent is to refrain from making the claims at issue again in any of its marketing material unless new substantiation has been submitted, evaluated and accepted by way of a new Directorate ruling as prescribed in Clause 4.1.7 of Section II of the Code.

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