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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 06:18 GMT 07:18 UK
Sainsbury's rapped over fruit advert
Sainsbury's
The supermarket chain says it is committed to natural farming methods
A supermarket chain has been criticised for a "misleading" advertisement about the farming methods used on its fruit and vegetables.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the Sainsbury's advert was "ambiguous" and may have misled shoppers about whether or not pesticides were used.

The authority told the supermarket chain that the advertisement, which appeared last August, was not to be used in future.

A complainant first contacted the ASA after seeing the advert that showed two red apples side by side, one beneath the heading Pesticide, the other beneath the heading Countryside.
Apples in Sainsbury's
The ASA said shoppers were being misled over the way fruit was farmed

A ladybird was crawling on the countryside apple with the advert reading: "All Sainsbury's British fruit and vegetables are grown with a commitment to using more natural farming methods, like this ladybird, to control pests."

The complainant said the advertisement misleadingly implied that the advertisers had a policy of using no pesticides on its British fruit, whereas he believed they still used pesticides and artificial fertilisers.

'Natural methods'

The advertisers claimed that they used only natural methods and no pesticides.

They argued that the words "with a commitment to", were fundamental to the statement they were making.

Sainsbury's said it had been encouraging environmentally responsible farming, and that all their UK suppliers were committed to that goal.

They added that throughout the month-long duration of the campaign they were not aware of other complaints.

The ASA upheld the complaint, saying the claim "with a commitment to using more natural farming methods" was ambiguous and readers could infer that all the methods the advertisers now used were natural.

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14 Feb 01 | UK
Pig adverts banned
18 Mar 01 | Business
Sainsbury's spends 500m on London
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