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ASA Rules On Bee Pollen Claims

Media Release, 20 April 2001

ASA Rules On Bee Pollen Claims

The man responsible for populising bee pollen as a health supplement in New Zealand is delighted by the ASA ruling on claims about Bee Pollen use.

Mr John Triggs Managing Director of Abeeco Health Limited, initiated an ASA hearing into claims by a recently founded rival company that bee pollen dosage below internationally recommended levels could still deliver the health benefits kiwi pollen users have come to expect from taking bee pollen.

John Triggs said "Speaking for Abeeco Health Limited and myself personally, I am delighted the ASA has ruled in our favour and decided to prevent companies making unsubstantiated claims on bee pollen which, used properly as a health supplement, remains a perfect health food."

Abeeco Health has led the way since 1995 in building bee pollen as a health food and supplement into an approximately twenty million dollar industry in New Zealand. As Mr Triggs explains it¹s an health food which has made a difference to tens of thousands of Kiwis.

"Over the last six years Abeeco Health alone has built a customer base of over 50,000 New Zealanders and it¹s been wonderful to be part of delivering health benefits to New Zealanders. Over the last few years, frankly it¹s been tough to hear unscientific, unsubstantiated claims being made in the market place, which have prevented many kiwis receiving the scientifically proven benefits of bee pollen. I took this action because I¹m passionate about health and about the benefits of bee pollen as part of an healthy lifestyle, with good diet and regular exercise. I am not happy that the benefits of bee pollen and the reputation of the whole industry has been damaged by the actions and claims made by just one small company trying to make a name for itself."

The ASA ruling states:

On the claim that "Nature Bee Potentiated Bee pollen...90% Available to your body":

This in the panel's opinion was not sufficently substantiated in the papers annexed to the Advertiser's submissions. In the Panel's opinion there was no evidence of substantiation, which correlated bioavailabilty and digestibility. Therefore in this respect the claim was in breach of Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.

On the claim that "Its potentiated...which means its up to 80 times more digestable than other bee pollens...":

There was insufficient evidence to substantiate the view that pollen was rendered "80 times" more digestable as a result [of the potentiation process]. Therefore in this respect the claim also failed and was deemed in breach of the Code.

On the claim that "Potentiation...dramatically increases the digestibilty":

In the Panel's opinion the quantitative superlatives, and the use of words such as "dramatically", were not substantiated in the materials provided and therefore in this respect were deemed misleading and accordingly in breach of the Code.

The panel was also of the view that... claims such as "...boosting your energy and strengthening the immune system...increased mental alertness and improved overall health..." and "...its even been famous for giving long life..." were therapeutic claims in terms of the Code.

Although not material to this determination it was the Board's view that the claims would also be in breach of the Therapeutic Code.

John Triggs says the ruling is a strong endorsement of his company¹s position. He says "I¹m delighted by the ASA ruling in our favour. When these claims were being made in the market I know some health companies were tempted to follow suit and pretend you could benefit from tiny amounts of bee pollen. For Abeeco Health sticking to the scientific truth about the benefits of bee pollen has meant losing customers but I refused to give any credence to the claims the ASA has ruled against. I just hope the message gets out to New Zealanders quickly, so those who seek the benefits of bee pollen can get back to taking bee pollen properly and buying their bee pollen from genuine health companies like Abeeco Health Limited."

For further comment on this story and information on bee pollen usage and benefits contact John Triggs at Abeeco Health Mobile: 021 77 55 15 Freephone: 0508 370 999 or (09) 486 2199 Email: john@abeeco.co.nz

or Timothy Giles at Evidential Communications Mobile: 021 55 44 32 Phone: (09) 309 6275 Email: giles@evidential.co.nz


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