A German judge has delayed the verdict in the case of German consumer-organisation Foodwatch against food giant Unilever until 5th October. Both organisations have been at war with each other since November 2011, when Foodwatch accused Unilever of not fully informing consumers about Becel pro.activ.
Phytosterol: side effects or no side effects?
The centre of the discussion are the possible negative side effects of phytosterols in Becel pro.activ. Consumer organisation Foodwatch demands that Unilever no longer withholds or denies this relevant information. The organisation wants the British-Dutch food concern to fully and honestly inform consumers about possible risks of phytosterols. The German heart foundation has stated to back these demands.
The Bundesinstitut für Risicobewertung has demanded that European provision authority EFSA objects the phytosterols to a thorough investigation again. Unilever keeps stating that up till now, there is no scientific proof of negative side effects and remains that phytosterols lower the cholesterol levels and possibly reduce the risks of heart and vascular diseases.
In November last year, the concern stated that Foodwatch was spooking the consumer with half-truths. Subsequently, the consumer organisation shifted to a higher gear and summoned Unilever Deutschland to court.
Misguiding marketing award
That was not the last battle between Foodwatch and Unilever: last June, Foodwatch Netherlands organised the election for the product with the most misguiding marketing. Out of 19,000 participants, more than one third voted for Becel pro.activ, earning Unilever a landslide victory.
Last year, the food multinational had won that not so enviable honour as well, with Blue Band Goede Start Witbrood - according to Unilever a white bread with the same qualities as whole wheat bread. The group soon admitted defeat and dropped its misleading claim.
Translation by Sanne Raspoet