The Checkout targets Swisse again despite open lawsuit

Vitamin brand Swisse has said claims and label references used by consumer affairs show The Checkout in a segment on the brand’s Ultiboost Chlorophyll product were “old and out of date”.

Last night the ABC show once again went after Swisse, despite a lawsuit taken out by Swisse-founder Radek Sali’s father Avni who says the show has severely injured his reputation after the show poured scorn over the brand’s relationship between the National Institute of Integrative Medicine which conducted a clinical trial of Swisse vitamins, and was founded by him.

An application by the ABC to have the case thrown out was turned down last August.

Speaking to Mumbrella in a video hangout Julian Morrow joked that one lawsuit wasn’t quite enough, “We hope to get more this series,” he quipped.

“I’m quite proud of the fact that the very first story of the very first episode of The Checkout did produce legal proceedings, that was Craig’s story about complimentary medicines and there are proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court by a gentleman who’s the father of the CEO of Swisse.

“There’s nothing like a court date or anything I think the next step is mediation and I’m kind of hoping the mediation occurs before some of the later material about Swisse in the series occurs because it might produce a better chance of a settlement if that happens.

“We haven’t resiled from that story and don’t, it’s important to us that those sorts of things don’t affect the editorial or the creative process for the next series.”

In last night’s show they looked at claims made by the Clorophyll product, and the recommended dose of 18 pills per day, in a three-and-a-half minute segment presented by Kirsten Drysdale which concluded “Chlorophyll, it’s important for plants, not people”.

A Swisse spokesperson told Mumbrella: “The claims and label references The Checkout used in their media segment were old and out of date.

“The dose of 18 x daily, is an old recommendation, which has since been updated to 6 tablets per day, see attached current label. Directions for use state: The nutrients and benefits outlined can be obtained with 1 serve (6 tablets). You can take up to 3 serves daily if you choose to boost your nutrition further.

“The health benefit claims for Chlorophyll + tablets are based on the products’ nutritional composition. Claims are made on Vitamins A, C, E, Niacin, B12 and Iron, and there are adequate amounts of these nutrients present naturally in the product, to support all health benefit claims made.

“All health benefit claims made on Chlorophyll + tablets are in line with the Food Standards Australian and New Zealand Code on Nutrition, Health and Related Claims (Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ, 2013). Nutrition, Health And Related Claims, Standard 1.2.7. 1–48).”

Swisse defended two of its claims on the product’s label, in which photosynthesis is suggested to be an important source of energy and the structure of the chlorophyll molecule is compared to the  structure of haemoglobin, telling Mumbrella they are “factual statements, for consumer context and education purposes – these are not health benefit claims.”

The show also targeted the size of packaging of krill supplements, including a Swisse product, in the episode’s end segment F.U. Tube, in which Craig Reucassel takes up consumer gripes.

Miranda Ward


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