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Advertising regulators abandon slimmers

7th February 2002

Advertising authorities are failing to control claims for slimming products, the Food Magazine reveals today, following a survey of website advertising. The claims appear on websites selling slimming pills, and would be likely to be condemned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) if they appeared in print. But the ASA has said that it will not investigate complaints against websites.

The Food Magazine found cliams for products such as Xenadrine, Fattack and Water Balance which appear to break the British Code of Advertising Practice. The Code bans the description of untypical weight loss experience, bans claims that people can eat what they like and still lose weight, and expects claims to be backed by 'rigorous practical trials'. The websites appeared to be failing on one or more of these counts.

'Claims for slimming products are frequently misleading and sometimes even dangerous,' said Kath Dalmeny of The Food Commission, 'Yet no one will take responsibility for making sure that claims on the web are true. The ASA, which ought to regulate all slimming adverts, is leaving vulnerable people such as teenagers and young women to fend for themselves.'