New York, NY – February 21, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that One Health Certification Foundation (OHC), an Iowa non-profit responsible for the One Health Certified standard, provided a reasonable basis for certain advertising claims related to its certification of poultry products.
NAD also concluded that the name “One Health” did not require modification, and found that OHC provided a reasonable basis to support certain claims regarding antibiotic use.
NAD recommended that OHC discontinue:
These claims were challenged by The America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a non-profit corporation, and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, an academic organization housed in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
In assessing whether the OHC certification was independent, NAD considered whether OHC’s standards were developed by industry stakeholders, as well as any connections between OHC’s leadership and the meat industry.
NAD concluded that there was no evidence in the record that the standards creation process is dominated or controlled by industry actors and concluded that the OHC certification was independent.
One Health Claims
NAD considered whether consumers are likely to confuse the advertiser’s One Health Certified name with the One Health Initiative, a collaborative approach adopted by entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization to address concerns such as zoonotic diseases (infections that spread
between people and animals), antimicrobial resistance, food safety and environmental contamination.
Based on the plain language of the name “One Health,” NAD concluded that the name did not convey an expressly false message of association with any organization or principles, or, for that matter, any provable claim at all. Given the lack of evidence of consumer confusion and NAD’s conclusion that “One Health” was not an expressly false claim, NAD concluded that the name One Health did not require modification.
Animal Welfare Claims
Antibiotic Use Claims
NAD determined that OHC provided a reasonable basis to support the claim that medically important antibiotics are only given when medically necessary and that OHC-certified producers attempt to minimize the number of animals treated with antibiotics.
Further, NAD determined that the claim “Antibiotic use is important,” which appears as part of the header “Why Antibiotic Use Is Important” on the advertiser’s website, does not convey a misleading message because it summarizes the contents of the paragraph below it on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the need for responsible antibiotic use.
However, NAD determined that one message reasonably conveyed by claims of “antibiotic restrictions” is that OHC-certified poultry have met a higher standard than the prevailing industry practice. Because this message was not supported, NAD recommended that the claims be discontinued as well as the implied claims that OHC-certified producers use antibiotics more judiciously than the industry standard and significantly exceed industry antibiotic use standards.
Environmental Benefit Claims
OHC claims that it “supports environmental stewardship classes in order to minimize the impact of animal production on the environment,” and one of the five core principles on the advertiser’s website as well as its certification label relates to the “environmental impact” of its program. NAD determined that the claims were not supported and recommended that they be discontinued.
In its advertiser statement, OHC stated that it “will appeal NAD’s decisions regarding its antibiotic, animal welfare, and environmental claims” and noted that it “appreciates NAD’s time and attention to this matter.” The advertiser further stated that “consistent with OHC’s promised and agreed-upon approach to revisit standards every three years, OHC will be revisiting its standards to ensure its label remains accurate.”
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.