Porky Pies

Monday, October 30, 2017

Viva!Health have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about a new TV advert from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) group ‘Love Pork’ that suggests that pork is a healthy food.

The TV campaign is designed to try and change how people see pork – as fatty, unhealthy and unpopular. The AHDB is a levy board funded by farmers, their sole purpose is to improve farm business efficiency and competitiveness. More about money than health.

AHDB says: “The TV campaign will reach 77 per cent of the target audience at least 6.5 times, as it airs between September 25 and November 5”.

The advert shows a woman cooking pork medallions for her family. A man dressed in a chicken outfit enters the room and objects to her cooking pork and she says: “Pork medallions are healthy”.

Pork cannot be described as a healthy food and here’s why:

  1. The World Health Organisation classifies red meat (including pork) as a Group 2A carcinogen; probably carcinogenic to humans.  
  2. For a food to be described as ‘healthy’ it should be low-fat, especially saturated fat. The government says:
  • To be described as low-fat, a food must contain 3g or less fat per 100g.  
  • To be described as low-saturated fat, it must contain 1.5g or less saturated fat per 100g.

We looked up the fat content of pork medallions sold by some popular supermarkets… 

Pork medallions (100g) Fat (g) Saturated fat (g)
Waitrose (uncooked) 6.5 2.3
Ocado (uncooked) 6.8 2.7
Iceland (grilled) 9.8 3.8
Sainsbury’s (grilled) 8.8 2.8

The advert showed pork medallions (like the ones listed above) being coated in egg and breadcrumbs and then fried. So, the fat content would be even higher than that given for the medallions in the table above. This would rule out any of the standard products above meeting the criteria for a low-fat (and therefore healthy) food.

Pork medallions cannot be described as low-fat, and therefore should not be called a ‘healthy food’ in an advert.

The ‘Love Pork’ website says: “Pork is rich in protein. Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass”. There are many other foods rich in protein that do not contain so much fat and saturated fat and are not classified as a probable carcinogen!

Apparently the pro-pork campaign will return in the New Year with an even greater emphasis on pork’s health credentials! 

Viva!Health wants the advert withdrawn as it is factually incorrect and hugely misleading. If you want to complain (please use the information above but in your own words) contact the The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) here: www.asa.org.uk

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