The African Centre for Biosafety, (ACB), in collaboration with Earthlife Africa have won their complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa against Monsanto citing false and misleading advertising. The ASA in its ruling available below specifically found Monsanto’s radio ad claims to be unsubstantiated.
The complaint centered around a radio ad sponsored on Radio 702 by Monsanto wherein Monsanto claims that GM crops “enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources; provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides; decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase crop yields substantially.”
“We are elated with this decision. Monsanto has already been warned by the ASA as far back as 2007, that it needs to substantiate its claims from an independent and credible expert in the matter of GM Food/M Wells/ 8739 (18 June 2007) regarding its claims of the so called benefits of GM crops. However, it appears Monsanto does not have much regard for South African law as it is hell bent on disseminating false information to the South African public, “ said Mariam Mayet, Executive Director of the ACB.
The ruling reads as follows:
In the matter between:
Mariam Mayet on behalf of the African Centre for Biosafety – First Complainant
Judith Taylor – Second Complainant
Monsanto South Africa (Pty) Ltd. – Respondant
Consumer complaints were lodged against a radio commercial for Monsanto genetically modified crops, the live-read states as follows:
8 billion people by 2025. How will er feed them all? GM crops enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources. GM crops and food are strictly regulated and have been extensively researched and tersted for safety. GM crops provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides and decreasng greenhouse gas emissions whilst increasing crop yields substantially. Read more about the safety and benfits of GM crops at www.monsanto.com.
During the hearing the ASA ruled:
Aside from submitting links to documents on its website, the respondent has submitted nothing from an independent and credible expert to confirm that the various studies relied on and referred to on its website are applicable to the respondent’s product, or that they support the advertising claims.
As a result, the advertising is currently unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.
The complaint is upheld.