An ad from supermarket chain Iceland has been banned for questioning the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI)’s testing for horse meat in its burgers.
The UK national press ad said the testing method used by the FSAI was not an accredited test after the agency found equine DNA in two Iceland quarter pounder burgers.
Initial tests did not use an accredited methodology but were undertaken by an independent accredited laboratory and the methodology was commonly used in North America.
A second set of FSAI tests reconfirmed the initial test results and were carried out by another independent accredited laboratory, which did use an accredited test methodology.
Iceland ad claims
The Iceland ad said:"No horsemeat has ever been found in an Iceland product.* All our burgers are made in the UK from British beef.”
Text underneath added:"*Recent testing by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) found traces of equine DNA at one tenth of one percent in two Iceland Quarter Pounder burgers.
“The testing method used by the FSAI was not an accredited test and the current accepted threshold level is 1% (10 times the level reported in the Iceland product).
“Two subsequent tests of the same batch of burgers carried out by two accredited independent laboratories found no evidence of contamination".
One complaint was received saying that it denigrated the FSAI, said the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).
However, Iceland amended the ad and published a statement on their website which acknowledged FSAI’s test results were valid after the agency contacted them with their concerns.
The ASA said that by omitting reference to the second set of accredited tests by the FSAI and by not making clear that the test methodology used in the FSAI's initial tests was used in North America, breached the code.
The body added by highlighting that Iceland's tests were carried out by an accredited independent laboratory whilst omitting that information in relation to the FSAI's tests, the impression was that the FSAI had not taken due care to ensure the accuracy or validity of the tests, and that its findings were questionable, which was not the case.