Kellogg to remove immunity claim from Rice Krispies

by Eric Schroeder
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BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — The Kellogg Co. on Nov. 4 announced its decision to discontinue the immunity statements on Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereals. Since last year, the cereal has featured a prominent yellow banner on the front of each box with the words “Now helps support your child’s immunity” as well as a box stating the cereal contains 25% Daily Value of vitamins A, B, C and E.

“Last year, Kellogg Co. started the development of adding antioxidants to Rice Krispies cereals,” the company said. “This is one way the company responded to parents indicating their desire for more positive nutrition in kids’ cereal.

“While science shows that these antioxidants help support the immune system, given the public attention on H1N1, the company decided to make this change. The communication will be on pack for the next few months as packaging flows through store shelves. We will, however, continue to provide the increased amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E (25% Daily Value) that the cereal offers.

“We will continue to respond to the desire for improved nutrition, and we are committed to communicating the importance of nutrition to our consumers.”

The decision to discontinue the statement on packaging comes a little more than a week after Dennis J. Herrera, City Attorney of San Francisco, sent a letter to David Mackay, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., expressing concern about the claim’s appearance on the cereal packaging and requesting information on the validity of the research behind the claim.

“The immunity claims may falsely suggest to parents that cereals like Cocoa Krispies are more healthy for their children than other breakfast foods that are not high in sugar and not highly processed,” Mr. Herrera wrote. “The immunity claims may also mislead parents into believing that serving this sugary cereal will actually boost their child’s immunity, leaving parents less likely to take more productive steps to protect their children’s health. At a time when parents are increasingly worried about the spread of the H1NI virus, it is vitally important that parents receive accurate information about what they can do to protect their children’s health.”

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