Herrera victory: Kellogg caves in

Kellogg Co. is no longer claiming that Cocoa Krispies and other of its sugary cereal brands will help boost children’s immunity to illnesses.

The move is a resounding victory for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who sent a scathing letter to the company’s president and CEO last week demanding proof that the “sugar-laden” cereal “now helps support your child’s immunity,” as has been advertised in large letters on the Cocoa Krispies cereal box.

Today, Kellogg announced it will discontinue the immunity statements on Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereals.

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

According to the company, “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 company said.

Herrera expressed outrage in his letter that Kellogg would make an immunity claim amid the swine flu scare, which President Barack Obama recently declared a national emergency.

“We will, however, continue to provide the increased amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E (25% Daily Value) that the cereal offers,” Kellogg said, adding that shoppers will continue to see the “immunity” claim on boxes “for the next few months,” until they can be swapped with new product.

The city attorney called the claim false advertising, a potential violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. He had asked Kellogg’s to prove its child immunity claims within 30 days or face repercussions.

Herrera didn’t need 30 days. The story surrounding his spread more quickly than the swine flu. NBC’s Today Show and USA Today were among the national news organizations to cover it.
 
 “I am gratified that Kellogg listened to our concerns, and recognized the obligation we all have to convey accurate information in the context of a serious public health concern like swine flu,” Herrera said in a statement.

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