Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kellogg’s Slapped by FTC, Twice, for Misleading Ads

Posted: 04 Jun 2010 04:50 AM PDT

The Federal Trade Commission normally doesn't get involved in misleading health claims for foods, it's the FDA's jurisdiction. But something in Kellogg's behavior over the past 2 years must have really annoyed somebody at the FTC.

At first it was a health claim for Frosted Mini-Wheats, with benefits to"cognitive health". The unsubstantiated claim was shot down by the FTC, but within a few months, Kellogg's came out with its immunity cereal. So now the company is again in trouble:

Leading cereal maker Kellogg Company has agreed to new advertising restrictions to resolve a Federal Trade Commission investigation into questionable immunity-related claims for Rice Krispies cereal. This is the second time in the last year that the FTC has taken action against the company.

"We expect more from a great American company than making dubious claims – not once, but twice – that its cereals improve children's health," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "Next time, Kellogg needs to stop and think twice about the claims it's making before rolling out a new ad campaign, so parents can make the best choices for their children." read more…

What you need to know:

Health claims are an unfortunate extension of product marketing efforts that overlap scientific information provided to consumers on the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list of packaged foods. Fuzzy at best, they create a false sense of hope and add value to products that in some cases may merit it, but in many cases don't.

Cocoa Rice Krispies are over 40% sugar by weight and contain trans-fat. How does that contribute to immunity?

What to do at the supermarket:

May we suggest ignoring the large font writing on food products, and sticking to the facts in the nutrition label itself.

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