Kellogg's cereals are a lot like a genie in the bottle: Open a box, and all your dreams will come true...at least according to the packaging.
Last summer, boxes of Frosted Mini-Wheats claimed the cereal could clinically "improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20 percent." The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) slapped down that claim, and the Kellogg Company removed it from boxes.
Shortly thereafter, the company's Cocoa Krispies cereal boxes boasted they could improve a child's immune system (in the midst of the swine flu panic, no less). Again, the FTC wagged its finger, and Kellogg begrudgingly removed the claim, muttering defensively about consumer demand for "more positive nutrition."
Now Kellogg has finally agreed to a settlement that it will no longer make any claims that aren't substantiated by science. According to the new terms of regulation, Kellogg will cease to make “claims about any health benefit of any food unless the claims are backed by scientific evidence and not misleading."
The Federal Trade Commission does not normally regulate things like product labels—that's a duty reserved for the Food and Drug Administration.
But as recent news has revealed, the FDA is ill-equipped to regulate a massive industry that is increasingly expanding, as evidenced by recent outbreaks and other disturbing health claims found on dietary supplements.
Photo: theimpulsivebuy/Creative Commons via Flickr