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FDA Questions General Mills’ Cheerios Marketing

cher.jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to General Mills Inc. last week asking it to change how it promotes the health benefits of Cheerios.

The FDA told General Mills to stop promoting Cheerios, the country’s best-selling cereal, as a product that can lower cholesterol levels, reduce heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer. The agency said that claiming the cereal can lower cholesterol levels by 4 percent in six weeks amounts to marketing it as a drug and violates the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. A local branch of the FDA gave the Minnesota-based food provider 15 days to explain how it will correct its statements on Cheerios.

In a prepared statement, General Mills (NYSE: GIS) said the complaint doesn’t question whether the cereal actually lowers cholesterol levels and said the dispute is over language, not science.

“The scientific body of evidence supporting the heart health claim was the basis for FDA’s approval of the heart health claim, and the clinical study supporting Cheerios’ cholesterol-lowering benefit is very strong,” the statement said. “We look forward to discussing this with FDA and to reaching a resolution.”

Cheerios boxes say that two, one-and-a-half-cup servings of the cereal every day have been clinically proven to lower cholesterol. The message has been on the box for more than two years.

(Triangle Business Journal)

8 Responses

  1. The FDA’s regulation of marketing is a clear breach of the first amendment, and it’s high time it was stopped. The first amendment clearly protects people’s right to make true claims, or claims they believe in good faith to be true; the notion that speech is less protected just because it’s made in connection with selling something has no basis in law, logic, or morality.

  2. That is america” the land of the free,you can’t do or say anything in this country without having to get a license or some other regulations. Unless it has to do with something immoral every one starts screaming “freedom of speech” or freedom of press”

  3. The claim that Cheerios can lower cholesterol by 4% is ludicrous, because ones health is determined by eating a balanced diet. If I eat foods with trans fats and consume 8 cups of coffee a day, how is my bowel of Cheerios going to counteract the bad food combining damage. Besides Hashem gives us a Bracha for health and longevity.

  4. Milhouse, I couldn’t agree with you more. But, I think there is something more sinister going on here. I think that the federal government has it’s eyes on trying to nationalize the food industry just like they nationalized the banks, the healthcare industry, the car manufacturers, etc.

    This could prove a nightmare for Shomer Shabbos yidden. Try putting a hashgocha on a food product that is being produced by a nationalized company.

  5. If you read the fine print on the box, it says: when eaten in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. In essence, eating any food with such a diet may reduce the risk of heart disease so their whole claim is just a marketing scheme.

  6. The FDA is all about $$$$$$$$$$ money. Something else is definitely behind the scenes. Maybe another company with bigger bucks doesn’t want all the profits to go to Cheerios. I have done extensive research on how Aspartame was finally approved by the FDA in the early 1980’s after 1st being introduced in 1965. For 20 years, the developers of Aspartame where trying to make the lab results work, and were able to get approval. The lab results showed cancer, brain damage, MS symptoms, still born, and other horrific complication in lab animals. Needless to say, the chemical Co. falsified lab results and the reports were submitted to the FDA for approval. With a little (in this case a lot) corruption and enough money, FDA approved Aspartame and is now part of everyone’s diet. NU? I don’t trust the FDA – there’s too much big business involved and not enough ethics.

    Also I personally know that they make it extremely difficult for alternative product to be in the market. It will simply result in lowering the profits for the medical/drug industry.

  7. Advertising!!!! 🙁

    The cholesterol issue is not so simple. Eating Cheerios will not clear up a cholesterol count that is out of control.

    As for cereals in general, the aisle is very interesting. Next time [you] go down that cereal aisle, notice how it is set up…

    Adult cereals are usually up on the top, or on the middle shelf; the highly sugared or fatty cereals are on bottom shelf–AIMED AT KIDS!

    How disingenuous is that?


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