Posted 26 March 2015
I am reliably informed that USN has been tasked with withdrawing claims for at least four products from their UK website following a UK ASA intervention* (25 March 2015):
- USN Xédra-Cut Ultra XT
- USN Diet Fuel Protein Soup
- USN Creatine Anabolic Transport System
- USN VO2 Max Red Blood Cell & Oxygen Booster
* “After consideration by the ASA of complaints received, the following companies and organisations agreed to amend or withdraw advertising without the need for a formal investigation”; ” . . . if the ASA Council decides that an ad is in breach of the Code, the advertisers are told to withdraw or amend it. Because USN (UK) Ltd has already assured us that the advertising you complained about will be amended, we consider there is little to be gained from continuing with a formal investigation . . . ”
The complainant has shared the text of the complaint (and also the response from the UK ASA) . We have paraphrased some aspects:
“USN produces a great number of product with claims that are either completely false, unconfirmed, uncorroborated or exaggerated and chump consumers.”
1. USN Xédra-Cut Ultra XT – http://uk.usn-sport.com/en/xedra-cut-ultra-xt
This product claims to be able to be able to result in weight-loss, which as you know, is a holy grail achievement! No company in the world has developed a product that can achieve great results, even Big Pharma has been unsuccessful.
The product claims, among other:
“Cut down on centimetres and your weight”.
“Dieting is made easy with the help of Xédra-Cut Ultra XT’s new scientifically researched formula, with CapsimaxTM as well as our easy-to-follow, energy-controlled eating plan and regular exercise”
“Xédra-Cut Ultra XT has the safest formulation of all products of this nature, give yourself the potential to lose wight, with added piece of mind that you’re doing so in a safe way. The new formula offers the following additional benefits: Zinc contributes to the breakdown of fatty acids (metabolism) Supports normal lipid metabolism and liver function. Supports normal energy yielding metabolism and mental performance. Helps contributes to weight loss when combined with an energy restricted diet”
2. USN Diet Fuel Protein Soup – http://uk.usn-sport.com/en/diet-fuel-protein-soup
Among other, the name is misleading.
“Supporting Muscle Recovery”
“Supports Energy Yielding Metabolism”
“Not only is it a warm and tasty soup, but it can really assist you in getting rid of those all important inches form you problem areas”
“Chromium – This can contribute to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels and the normal macronutrient metabolism
“Protein – Contributes to the maintenance and production of lean muscle fibres”
It has 1658 kJ per 100g, more than ordinary Royco Vegetable soup at 1239.
3. Creatine Anabolic Transport System – http://uk.usn-sport.com/en/creatine-anabolic-1-8kg
The product claims:
“Creatine Anabolic is an advanced creatine transport system, designed to optimise muscle development and performance. Creatine Anabolic is scientifically engineered to maximize creatine absorption in order to help increase performance, promote normal protein synthesis and muscle function, and reduce fatigue”
“The USN Creatine Anabolic is scientifically formulated to provide you with a hardcore performance supplement with the high levels of Creatine and quality carbohydrates.”
The claim “scientifically formulated” gives the impression that a scientific study of this product or ingredients support the claims.
The product contains, among other, beta alanine. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) published a scientific opinion on the claims for beta alanine: “ . . concluded that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of beta-alanine and increased physical performance during short-duration, high-intensity exercise.” http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/754e.htm
4. USN VO2 Max Red Blood Cell & Oxygen Booster http://uk.usn-sport.com/en/v02-max-80-s
The following claims are being made:
“Oxygen & Performance Optimizer”
” . . formulated to increase oxygen uptake and ventilary breakpoint, this helps any fitness enthusiast push harder for a longer period of time”.
” . . designed to support your performance levels by supporting healthy oxygen transport & normal acid base metabolism and supports the reduction of tiredness and fatigue typically associated with endurance exercise”.
“Core Benefits: Increases endurance performance; Supports a reduction in tiredness and fatigue; Supports carbohydrate and glycogen metabolism; Contributes to normal oxygen transport and acid base balance;
RESPONSE FROM UK ASA
13 March 2015 Ref:A15-291559/SL
Thank you for contacting the ASA about USN (UK) Ltd. Further to my letter of 17 February, we have now received a response from the advertisers and have discussed the requirements of the CAP Code with them. They have given us their assurance that any claims in future will definitely meet the conditions of use for the ingredients; will not exaggerate the authorised claims and that any effects are correctly attributed to the nutrient, substance, food or food category for which they had been authorised and not for the product itself. We consider that this will resolve the complaint without referring the matter to the ASA Council, and will consequently be closing our file.
In a formal investigation, if the ASA Council decides that an ad is in breach of the Code, the advertisers are told to withdraw or amend it. Because USN (UK) Ltd has already assured us that the advertising you complained about will be amended, we consider there is little to be gained from continuing with a formal investigation, which would achieve that same outcome.
Although we will not publish full details of your complaint on our website, www.asa.org.uk, basic information including the advertisers’ name and where the ad appeared will appear on Wednesday 25 March.