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ASA mulls weighty Spur ribs case

Johannesburg - A man has taken the Spur restaurant group to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claiming that his 200 gram ribs did not weigh that much.

But the case was dismissed on Wednesday, with the ASA finding that Spur's advertising was not misleading.

Lyndon van Wyk submitted that he had weighed the ribs and found it was 130g. When querying it, he was informed that the food was weighed when raw, which accounted for the difference.

Van Wyk lodged a complaint with ASA over Spur's menu board that promoted a “Tuesday's 200g ribs & four buffalo wings” deal for R49.95.

Van Wyk contended that the ribs did not weigh 200g as advertised.

The Spur Group in response said it had checks and balances in place at store, regional, and head office levels.

It argued that its quality management system ensured that the correct products and weights were served to customers.

Confidential information was submitted to illustrate this point. Spur said even though every care was taken to ensure that its plated products were made to specification in line with its marketing material, it could be that an incorrect portion unit could have been grilled and incorrectly plated because of human error.

Spur said all its weights were classified as raw mass, as customer preferences varied in terms of the cooked product.

It gave an example that a “blue steak” would weigh more than a well-done steak.

This concept was printed on all menus and was standard practice in the restaurant and food service industry, said Spur.

At the request of the ASA, the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) submitted an opinion on the matter.

The NRCS submitted that the meat portion (200g) was raw mass as it is practically impossible to weigh a cooked product.

The regulator concluded it was not fair to expect the cooked product to meet the declared mass.

In its ruling, the ASA said a point was also made that the preparation method would also impact on the weight, presumably because of the loss of moisture contained in the meat.

Sapa

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