The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has today ordered Monsanto to withdraw its advertisement on Radio 702 with immediate effect, wherein Monsanto claims the benefits of GM crops. According to ASA, Monsanto’s claims were found to be unsubstantiated and misleading.
The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) lodged a complaint to the ASA following an advertisement 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.” The ACB was supported in its complaint by Ms Judith Taylor from Earthlife Africa.
Monsanto was given an opportunity by ASA to respond to the ACB’s complaint but was according to the ASA, only able to provide the ASA with links to documents on its website but was unable to provide, as it is required to in terms of South African law governing advertising, inputs from an independent and credible expert confirming the various studies that Monsanto relied upon showing the ostensible benefits of GM crops.
“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 and misleading information to the South African public, “ said Mariam Mayet, Executive Director of the ACB.
The ASA has warned Monsanto that “it should ensure that it holds proper substantiation for its advertising claims” or risk attracting further sanctions.