Ad watchdog responds to sourfaux code
The Advertising Authority replies to the Real Bread Campaign call to reject.
In reply to an email from the Real Bread Campaign, on 7 February 2023 Miles Lockwood, Director of Complaints and Investigations at The Advertising Authority, wrote:
“Because the ASA is obliged by law to regulate claims on a case-by-case basis taking account of the specific context, content and audience of each claim it’s not possible for us to anticipate each and every circumstance that might lend credibility or otherwise to the material you refer to. To that end it’s not possible to give a blanket assurance that such information would be disregarded by us in all circumstances without even having given the material consideration or comment.
If we investigate complaints or other matters at a future date about claims for sourdough, the ASA will make its usual expert assessment as to the robustness of any supporting substantiation evidence supplied by an advertiser or identified by us as being of potential relevance. That assessment routinely takes account of the sources, authorship, relevance, scientific/expert credibility and supporting contextual information of materials such as voluntary codes of practice produced by industry bodies. I’m sure that such an assessment would take careful account of the factors and the arguments you set out below.
So, thank you very much for your thoughts on this issue, which we’ll keep a record of for future reference. If you are a party to future complaints or other regulatory activity concerning these issues you will of course be at liberty to bring these points to our attention again at the relevant time.”
On 9 February 2023, Real Bread Campaign co-ordinator responded:
“Thank you for your swift reply.
We thank the ASA for not accepting in principle the proposed code as a document valid for consideration in cases of complaints about misleading use of the word sourdough.
At the same time, we are disappointed that you have not rejected it.
Our hope is that bakers, the government, consumer protection bodies and shoppers will join genuine sourdough bread makers and the Real Bread Campaign in discrediting the proposed code for the reasons outlined in my previous email. Our greater hope is that there won’t be any future cases of naming, advertising or marketing using sourdough in ways likely to mislead.”
The Campaign is still seeking replies from Thérèse Coffey and Mark Spencer, respectively the Secretary of State and Minister of State at Defra, and the heads of the Food Standards Agency and Chartered Institute of Trading Standards.
Published 9 Feb 2023
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