A TV advertisement for Benecol yoghurt drinks in the UK has been banned by the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) for its claims that have been called misleading.
The TV ad for Benecol yoghurt says that two out of three adults have high cholesterol and the drink "is proven to lower cholesterol by up to 10 per cent in just three weeks".
The ASA said, "We considered the ad implied that two-thirds of healthy UK adults currently had cholesterol levels that were generally accepted as 'high', whereas we had not seen evidence that was the case. We concluded that this claim was misleading and that the overall impression of the ad was such that it therefore exaggerated the health benefit of the product."
Johnson and Johnson, which manufactures Benecol products said it was unhappy at the ruling and that it had "strong scientific evidence for the claims we made".
According to authorised EU health claim, plant stanol esters found in Benecol is "shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease".
And food manufacturers are allowed to use this claim by rephrasing it.
But the ruling stated that the manufacturer did not mention that high cholesterol was a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease and this changed the meaning of the claim.