Organic groups and farmers say they are “disappointed” after the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority told Arla Foods to stop using the phrase ‘good for the land’ in relation to organic dairy farming.
The ruling follows a complaint about a local press ad for Arla organic farm milk that appeared in November 2016 and included text which stated “Good for the land” and smaller text underneath stating “helping support a more sustainable future.”
The complainant, who believed that dairy farming was not good for the land challenged, argued that the claim was misleading.
Arla Foods Ltd argued that one of the key principles of organic farming was good treatment of the land and that sustainability was at the heart of organic farming, which included the both the use of renewable and the protection of non-renewable resources. It said that the ethos of organic farming revolved around taking great care to look after the land and it was, therefore, good for the land that it was being farmed organically.
But the ASA upheld the complaint, stating that the claims in the ad would have suggested to consumers that organic dairy production
“would have an overall positive impact on the environment, taking into account its full life cycle”. The ASA said that Arla had failed to substantiate that organic milk had a “an overall positive impact on the environment, taking into account its full life cycle”. It concluded that the claim was misleading and has told the company not use environmental claims in future “unless they hold sufficient substantiation”.
But Michael Oakes, NFU dairy board chairman, told the Daily Telegraph that the ruling was “disappointing” and added that “it’s been a long-held belief that that organic farming does hold benefits.” He said his organization was “frustrated at how the ASA works” and was keen to know “how it reaches its decisions”.
The Organic Trade Board said it was also “disappointed at the ASA ruling”. It added: The OTB would welcome the opportunity to discuss the decision with the ASA and to present the scientific evidence showing the environmental benefits of organic farming and other features that we need to communicate to an increasingly interested public.”