Kerry Foods has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading shoppers over the origin of its Richmond Ham.

An advert for the ham showing a naked man received 371 complaints in total and as a result, the ASA investigated five possible breaches of the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice code.

Five complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading in describing the product as “Britain’s only ham…” because Kerry was Irish and the product was made in Ireland. The ASA upheld this complaint, concluding the description was misleading because it was “likely to be interpreted by consumers as meaning the product was British in origin, when in fact that was not the case.”

The remaining four complaints included concerns over the nudity in the ad, that it was inappropriate for broadcast when children were likely to be watching, and that its ‘Britain’s 100% natural ingredients’ claim was misleading because the product was processed, and because many local butchers and smaller producers made ‘100% natural’ ham. All four, however, were rejected by the ASA.

Kerry Foods said it was “thrilled” the ASA had acknowledged Richmond was the only 100% natural ingredients cooked ham product currently available in the UK. On the provenance point, the company said that as an Irish brand, it was proud to manufacture its distinct natural Irish recipe in Ireland. “We feel the use of the word ‘Britain’ in the advert refers to the availability of our ham in the UK, and not its provenance.”

If the ad is run again, Kerry has pledged to “make a few minor tweaks” to the language used in the ad.