ASA upholds complaint over coffee health claims

The British Coffee Association has found itself in hot water over claims that coffee is good for you.

ASA upholds complaint over coffee health claims

The Advertising Standards Authority agreed with most of the concerns raised by a complainant about a BCA ad in a fitness newsletter. It claimed that drinking four to five cups of coffee a day was safe, and that coffee was a major dietary source of antioxidants, could help alleviate symptoms of a cold, increased stamina and had a painkilling effect.

The ASA’s expert adviser agreed with the ad that “four to five cups a day is perfectly safe for the general population”, but warned that that might not be the case for pregnant women and people with hypertension.

The claim that coffee could increase stamina if drunk before going to the gym implied that gym goers could achieve weight loss in this way, which the ASA thought was exaggerated.

And it also concluded that the implication that drinking coffee had the same positive effects on health as fresh fruit and vegetables was misleading.

The claims that coffee alleviated the symptoms of a cold and could have a painkilling effect when taken with an ibuprofen tablet were both judged to be a medicinal claim for a food and, as such, were not permitted under food labelling regulations.

The ASA did not agree with the complainant that the logo “Relax and enjoy 4-5 cups of coffee a day” mimicked the government’s “five a day” fruit and vegetable campaign.

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