Monsanto was recently forced to withdraw one of its advertisements after The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa determined that the information in the advertisement was unsubstantiated.
The commercial boasted the many benefits of GMO crops, but The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) filed a complaint because they believed that Monsanto’s claims were false.
In the advertisement, Monsanto claimed that GMO 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.”
After the complaint was filed, Monsanto was unable to provide sufficient evidence to support their claims, and were thus forced to pull the advertisement.
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 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.