` Indian Pomace Oil Brand Responds to Complaint on Health Claims - Olive Oil Times

Indian Pomace Oil Brand Responds to Complaint on Health Claims

Sep. 21, 2012
Vikas Vij

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Leonardo Olive Pomace Oil, one of the lead­ing olive oil brands in India, was served a notice by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to with­draw its print adver­tise­ment claim­ing health ben­e­fits of the prod­uct. The adver­tise­ment had claimed that Leonardo Olive Pomace Oil helps fight cho­les­terol and heart dis­ease,” low­ers blood pres­sure,” con­trols and pre­vents dia­betes” and fights can­cer.“

In its deci­sion, the ASCI said Pomace Olive Oil is pro­duced by sol­vent extrac­tion and has poly­cyclic aro­matic hydro­car­bons (PAHs) which are both muta­genic and car­cino­genic. This is con­tra­dic­tory to the claim made for Olive Pomace oil in fight­ing can­cer. Additionally, the health ben­e­fits of olive oil are from Extra vir­gin olive oil due to its antiox­i­dant con­tent, which is not present in Pomace Olive oil. Hence mis­lead­ing claims are por­trayed about the ben­e­fits of con­sum­ing Pomace Olive oil.”

Himani Dalmia, assis­tant gen­eral man­ager of Dalmia Continental, the com­pany that owns the Leonardo olive oil brand, said in response to a query from Olive Oil Times that the adver­tise­ments were with­drawn before the ASCI made its rec­om­men­da­tions and the com­pany responded to the com­plaint in detail, explain­ing that olive pomace oil is a grade rec­og­nized by the International Olive Council and cit­ing the ben­e­fits shown by var­i­ous stud­ies based on its high monoun­sat­u­rated fat con­tent.

Ms. Dalmia called pro­mot­ing olive oil in India not an easy task.” Olive oil mar­keters in India face obsta­cles in addi­tion to the obvi­ous ones of low aware­ness and high prices. One of the dif­fi­cul­ties Ms. Dalmia said, was a tribe of food purists who do not under­stand the con­cept of olive oil for Indian cook­ing. In their zeal to pro­mote only extra vir­gin olive oil, they fail to under­stand Indian real­i­ties. Consumer com­plaints against olive pomace oil are mostly a result of this prej­u­dice.”

Following an Olive Oil Times inter­view with Dalmia Continental Chairman VN Dalmia, India Today pub­lished an arti­cle last December titled Pomace is not olive oil and offers no health gains” which stirred debate over Dalmia Global’s pro­mo­tion of olive oil’s low­est grade.

Another hur­dle is a law in India called the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act of 1954. It aims to pro­tect the con­sumer from mis­lead­ing claims by pro­hibit­ing most health infor­ma­tion in adver­tise­ments. The rules drafted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also dis­cour­age edu­cat­ing con­sumers about the legit­i­mate health ben­e­fits of any food prod­uct since every­thing is left open to the inter­pre­ta­tion of food inspec­tors.

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The ad cam­paign for Leonardo olive oil has now evolved to a more the­matic series that aims to define Leonardo as a brand. The com­pany con­tin­ues to reach con­sumers about health ben­e­fits through its on-ground activ­i­ties and online pro­mo­tions.

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