This may come as a shocker but, contrary to what Kellogg previously had suggested, chowing down on Cocoa Krispies will NOT protect your child from the flu pandemic or, you know, provide a cure for cancer.
Under pressure to support their claim that the cereal “helps support your child’s immunity,” Kellogg has just announced they are removing the big banner on Rice Krispies boxes trumpeting that supposed benefit.
It was just this past July when the company rolled out the new claim, which went along with a new formulation of the cereal that included higher amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E. However, when the San Francisco city attorney wrote the company a letter asking for a substantiation of the immunity claim, Kellogg issued a brief statement announcing the end of the immunity banner:
While science shows that these antioxidants help support the immune system, given the public attention on H1N1, the Company decided to make this change.
Funny how the statement does not mention the letter from the city attorney, which said, in part:
I am concerned that the prominent use of the Immunity Claims to advertise a sugar-laden, chocolate cereal like Cocoa Krispies may mislead and deceive parents of young children. … At a time when parents are increasingly worried about the spread of the H1N1 virus (”swine flu”), it is vitally important that parents receive accurate information about what they can do to protect their children’s health.
This exchange is part of a bigger story here: Tension between food companies putting more health claims on the front of their packages, and governments looking to validate those claims. Several big food companies recently suspended their “Smart Choice” labeling program, after the FDA said it was working on new rules for front-of-package labeling. And the EU’s food agency recently released opinions on hundreds of health claims made by food manufacturers.
While we’re on the subject of truth in advertising, I would like to lodge a formal complaint that my bowls of Rice Krispies have NEVER exclaimed, “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” They just kind of sit there, speech-impaired.