BBB National Programs Archive

Giovanni Rana Voluntarily Discontinues Certain ‘Fresh’ Claims For Its Pasta Products

New York, NY – July 16, 2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that Giovanni Rana, the maker of pasta products, took necessary and appropriate steps in discontinuing certain “fresh” advertising claims for the company’s Giovanni Rana pasta product.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, opened an inquiry into advertising for the product, following a challenge by Nestle Prepared Foods Company. Claims at issue included:

  • “Taste the Flavor of Premium, Fresh Pasta!”
  • “We make it fresh.  You make it fast.  Giovanni Rana brings you a delectable selection of premium fresh pastas.  Made with the love of tradition, only the finest and freshest ingredients are used in our recipes.  Our ravioli and tortellini are prepared with thinner pasta for a more authentic flavor and more filling, making Giovanni Rana the leading fresh pasta in Italy.  After all, who knows more about pasta than the Italians?”
  • “#1 Fresh Pasta in Italy.”
  • “The Fresh Pasta that’s #1 in Italy.”

 The challenger asserted that the advertised products have a shelf life of 50 days, well over the typical shelf life of unprocessed/unpreserved fresh pasta.

In response to NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser noted that it disagreed with the challenger’s position and maintained that its advertising is truthful and well within the law. However, the company said that it would, in the spirit of self-regulation, immediately and permanently discontinue the use of the term “fresh” in all of the advertisements referenced in the challenger’s complaint.  The advertiser further agreed to permanently discontinue the “fresh” claims on its product packaging.

NAD, in its decision, noted that there is a substantial body of law and legal precedent regarding use of the term “fresh” in food labeling and advertising that is specific to tomato products and that it is important for advertisers and the industry to receive a uniform message about the standards by which their food advertising and labeling claims will be reviewed.  To that end, NAD noted, it seeks to harmonize its self -regulatory efforts with the framework already developed by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

NAD noted that federal regulations provide that the term “fresh” may not be used on food labeling, in a manner that suggests or implies that the food is in its raw state if the food has been frozen, subjected to any form of thermal processing, or any other form of processing.

NAD noted its appreciation for the advertiser’s agreement to immediately and permanently discontinue the challenged advertisements and to permanently discontinue the use of the term “fresh” in the challenged advertising as well as its packaging materials – a course of action that NAD deemed necessary and proper.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it appreciates NAD’s role in evaluating competitor complaints.  “The NAD procedures have allowed Rana to make its position clear.  Rana will continue to comply with all applicable laws and regulations,” the company said.