NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that St. Louis-based Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. modify certain advertising claims for its baby food products. At issue are various ad statements, including “Beech-Nut is a better choice. Why? Because we do things exactly the way you would if you made your own baby food. We use high-quality, all-natural ingredients. And we don’t fluff our food with fillers. When you buy a jar of Beech-Nut applesauce, you get apples and water.” Gerber said the ads conveyed an implied message that Beech-Nut baby food products are superior to Gerber and other baby foods in terms of their ingredients, nutritional value and quality, according to the NAD. It also argued that claims that all of Beech-Nut’s baby foods are “fresh,” “all-natural” and equivalent to homemade baby food are misleading and could not be supported. The NAD agreed that Beech-Nut products are made from primarily natural ingredients, but determined that the product is not “all-natural,” due to the inclusion of synthetic vitamin C. It recommended that Beech-Nut modify its “better choice” claim in print and Internet advertising to avoid conveying the message that its products are superior and that competitors use inferior ingredients. The NAD also recommended that Beech-Nut modify or discontinue claims that suggest the products are “fresh,” and “all-natural” to better reflect that the products are thermally processed for safety and fortified with vitamin C produced in a laboratory. Beech-Nut will incorporate NAD’s recommendations and “welcomes the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process,” according to an NAD statement. Beech-Nut was unavailable for further comment.
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