Advertising Law

FDA Warns General Mills over Cheerios Cholesterol Claims

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The Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to General Mills warning that cholesterol claims on the Cheerios box make the food a drug under federal law.

The letter, posted on the FDA website, says Cheerios should file a new-drug application if it wants to continue claiming a cholesterol-lowering benefit, the Wall Street Journal reports. The box says the cereal can “lower your cholesterol 4 percent in six weeks.”

General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe told the Wall Street Journal that the company will work with the FDA to reach a resolution of the complaint. He said the claim of a 4 percent cholesterol reduction has been used for more than two years.

The FDA isn’t the only federal agency examining health claims by cereal makers, the story says. Last month the Kellogg Co. settled a claim by the Federal Trade Commission that eating Frosted Mini-Wheats was clinically shown to improve children’s attentiveness by nearly 20 percent. An FTC press release says the proposed settlement bars deceptive or misleading cognitive health claims for Kellogg’s breakfast and snack foods.

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