San Francisco vs. Cocoa Krispies

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Image Courtesy of Marion Nestle

Now that the Smart Choices program is on hold, it's time to take a look at what else is on food packages these days. My current favorite example is the huge IMMUNITY banner across Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies.

I don't know how you interpret this but my mind boggles at the very idea that eating Cocoa Krispies might protect kids against swine flu.

Apparently, the minds of the San Francisco attorney general's staff are equally boggled.  They just sent a warning letter to Kellogg's:

"Specifically, 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. 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."

The city attorneys are asking Kellogg's to provide copies of all of the consumer and scientific research the company used to establish this claim, or else. If they don't get these documents, they will "seek an immediate termination or modification of the advertising claim...."

Good idea. I can't wait to see how Kellogg's--ever at the leading edge of advertising claims--will respond.

But wait!  Shouldn't the FDA be taking this on?

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Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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