NAD Examines Advertising For D’Artagnan’s Artisan Foie Gras

New York, NY – Jan. 26, 2009– The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that D’Artagnan Inc. discontinue certain advertising claims made for the company’s Artisan foie gras.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed Internet advertising for the product following a challenge by the Humane Society of the United States.

Express claims at issue in the NAD inquiry included:

  • “The liver is not diseased, simply enlarged.”
  • “Animals are hand-raised with tender care under the strictest of animal care standards.”

Implied claims at issue included:

  • Artisan Duck Foie Gras is not produced by force feeding.
  • Artisan Duck Foie Gras is produced by healthy animals.
  • Artisan Duck Foie Gras is produced humanely.

NAD noted that, as the advertising industry’s self-regulatory unit, it does not take a position on what constitutes humane treatment of animals or other ethical considerations associated with foie gras production.  However, NAD recognized that consumers cannot typically verify the accuracy of claims regarding animal welfare practices for themselves and noted that NAD’s role is to consider relevant scientific evidence, as well as consumer understanding and expectation, to ensure that such advertising is truthful and non-misleading. 

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the advertiser had not adequately substantiated its liver health claim (“the liver is not diseased, simply enlarged”).

NAD determined that the claim “hand-raised with tender care under the strictest of animal care standards” suggests a level of care and oversight that is not supported by the evidence provided by the advertiser and is inconsistent with the evidence in the record.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its claim about the liver health of birds used in Artisan foie gras production, as well as the claim that animals are hand-raised with tender care “under the strictest of animal care standards.”

D’Artagnan, in its advertiser’s statement, noted that it “strongly disagrees with NAD’s decision but nonetheless will comply and modify its advertising.”