The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has upheld four complaints challenging whether a TV ad for Bioglan “superfood” chia and flax seeds complied with the European Register of Nutrition and Health claims with its use of the word “superfood” and comparisons demonstrating the seeds’ protein, calcium and fiber content.

At issue specifically was food manufacturer PharmaCare’s claim that adding its chia and flax seeds to breakfast provides “as much protein as a small egg; more calcium than 100ml of milk; as much fiber as a cup of oats; and a high source of the Omega 3 fatty acid ALA.” Concluding that although PharmaCare was within its rights to present the seeds as sources of the specific nutrients, the multiple references to “superfood” to reference “a general, non-specific benefit of the food for overall health,” needed to be accompanied by a specific authorized health claim.

“We noted that the Regulation [Article 10(3) of the EU Regulation 1924/2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims Made on Foods] required that only comparative nutrition claims listed in the Annex to the Regulation could be used, and that they must compare the nutrients in the advertised product to a range of foods of the same category (which did not have a composition that allowed them to have nutrition claims),” said ASA. “We therefore considered that PharmaCare would need to demonstrate that the claims ‘as much [named nutrient] as …’ and ‘more [named nutrient] than …’ were approved comparative nutrition claims and that the product (chia and flax seeds) was in the same food category as eggs, milk and oats, against which the comparative nutrition claims were made.”