Monday, 8 December 2014

SAB terms decrease in sugarcane purchase price anti-Sindh

Dr Shazad Ansar, Member Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), made an astonishing disclosure publicly that most of the random samples of vanaspati ghee available in the Pakistani markets contain nickel, a deadly catalyst/toxic for human health that may result in kidney failure.

This has been disclosed in a presentation on 'Disclosure & Deceptive Marketing Practices-Office of Fair Trading,' prepared by Dr Shazad Ansar for the CCP and shared with the experts on the occasion of the World Competition Day-2014. According to the CCP Member's observations and analysis, 24 random samples of vanaspati ghee were obtained from the market to check the standard specifications and other contents of the commodity competing in the market.

The samples were collected without pinpointing any specific brand name. Out of total 24 samples, only five fulfilled the laid down specification while others have dangerous ratio of nickel. Nickel is the usual catalyst employed in the hydrogenation of vegetable oil. The presence of nickel in vanaspati ghee slowly results in failure of kidneys. It is very dangerous to have such a high ratio of nickel in the vanaspati ghee, CCP Member added.

When contacted, an expert was of the view that the major sickness associated with excessive nickel intake may include cardiovascular diseases, nervous disorders, jaundice, miscarriages, respiratory tract neoplasia, carcinogenic effects, etc.

According to the CCP presentation, in case of vanaspati ghee presence of arsenic, nickel 0.2 mg/kg, max is Pakistan standard specification. A French study on energy drink showed that between 2009 and 2011 there were 257 adverse events related to such liquid intakes. Most of these were of cardio-vascular origin where 8 cases lead to death. Dr Ansar said that the section 10 of the Competition Act prohibits the distribution of false or misleading information to the consumers, which is capable of damaging the business interests of some other undertaking.

The aims and objectives of Office of Fair Trading (OFT) revealed that it encourage and ensure disclosure of sufficient information; disclosure helps consumer in decision making; provide solutions and guidelines to undertakings to modify their overall marketing campaign and provide a platform to placate individual/group class grievance on account of deceptive marketing practices.

The full disclosure campaign is a new initiative by (Office of the Fair Trade) CCP. It covers guidelines formulation; distribution through letters/e-mails; regular guidelines through News Letter and guidance sessions.

Under the full disclosure campaign, it would be necessary to display disclosures prominently so that they consumers are well aware of it. The size, colour, and graphics of the disclosure affect its prominence. The disclosures that are at least as large as the claim to which they relate are more likely to be effective. A disclosure in a colour that contrasts with the background emphasises the text of the disclosure and makes it more noticeable. Information in a colour that blends it with the background of the ad is likely to be missed. Using graphics to display a disclosure is not required, as they make the disclosure more prominent. The placement of the disclosure in the advertisement and its proximity to the claim unveil the fact.

The presentation revealed that a disclosure is more effective if it is placed near the claim it qualifies or other relevant information. Proximity increases the likelihood that consumers will see the disclosure and relate it to the relevant claim or product. For print ads, an advertiser might measure proximity in terms of whether the disclosure is placed adjacent to the claim, or whether it is separated from the claim by text or graphics.

Due to different resolution, screen types & technical differences, every device has its own limitations. In evaluating placement, advertisers should also take into consideration empirical research about what consumers do and do not look on a screen. Often, disclosures consist of a word or phrase that may be easily incorporated into the text, along with the claim. Doing so increases the likelihood that consumers will see the disclosure and relate it to the relevant claim. The sensitive items for disclosures included food items, medicaments, herbal medicines, tools and fittings, perishable items and household items, presentation of the CCP member added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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