Kellogg Hints That Cocoa Krispies Will Save Your Kids From Swine Flu

Remember when the FDA was like, “Hey, General Mills, you’ve turned Cheerios into a drug?” This sort of reminds us of that. Now Kellogg is claiming on their new packaging that Cocoa Krispies will help your child’s “IMMUNITY.”

From USAToday:

Last week, San Francisco sent a letter to Kellogg and to the Food and Drug Administration asking Kellogg to prove its claim. “I am concerned the prominent use of the immunity claims to advertise a sugar-laden chocolate cereal like Cocoa Krispies may mislead and deceive parents of young children,” said Dennis Herrera, the city attorney.

Kellogg says the critics are wrong. Development of the line started more than a year ago, and it was rolled out in May 2009. “It was not created to capitalize on the current H1N1 flu situation,” spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz says. “Kellogg developed this product in response to consumers expressing a need for more positive nutrition.”

Apparently, Kellogg sprayed some more vitamins A, C and E on the sugary puffs as justification for the new marketing language.

What do you think?

Critics blast Kellogg’s claim that cereals can boost immunity [USAToday] (Thanks, Steve!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Gorphlog says:

    I dont see anything on the package mentioning swine flu at all. Just a general statement that it can improve immunity. Its a general and vague statement

  2. JediJohn82 says:

    Can’t just about any cereal help improve your immunity? I mean a healthy diet should equate to a good immune system.

  3. Spin359 says:

    I believe that this product could give me limited immunity from hunger.

  4. Tim says:

    After spraying the vitamins on it, they probably sprayed more sugar (err … HFCS) to mask the vitaminy taste.

  5. Coelacanth says:

    I thought that people most at risk for complications for swine flu were those with the most robust immune systems…

    (And paradoxically, those with compromised immune systems.)

  6. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I don’t know that they’re referring to swine flu. More likely that they’re trying to cash in on the immunity buzz that’s coming out of the yogurt companies.

  7. eccsame says:

    Well at least it’s Kellogs making those claims and not one of those sketchy nutritional supplement manufacturers.

  8. pop top says:

    I’m sorry, but now I just want Cocoa Crispies.

  9. DeadWriter says:

    Do not assume that “Immunity” refers to your kids health. Consumption of this grants one the status of “Ambassador from Wacky Land”, and thus your kids will have diplomatic immunity. It’s a common mistake. We all make assumptions. Unfortunately, the status of ambassador is limited to just a few seconds, so constant consumption of the product will insure your little one’s legal status.

  10. Al Swearengen says:

    “Kellogg developed this product in response to consumers expressing a need for more positive nutrition.”

    This shows where the cereal companies don’t get it. They don’t think the issue is whether something is actually nutritious and beneficial, which is what consumers want. The cereal companies think the issue is whether their marketing campaigns can convince people that their bad cereal actually might have a positive benefit somehow. The “positive” they speak of is “positive marketing” not “positive actual nutrition”.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Al Swearengen: This is pretty much the basis of marketing as it is though – convince people there’s a need. Convince people that something is good for them, or that the competition is bad for them. Convince people something tastes good.

  11. dragonprism says:

    It’s no surprise that eating a healthy, portion controlled 3 meals a day will help keep YOU healthy. And, in the proper serving, coco crispies isn’t really that bad for you.

    The issue though is that people don’t eat healthy–they don’t eat the proper portions in proportion to how much they burn off. It’s like the “Fat Free” gimmick. Just because there’s no fat doesn’t mean the sugar won’t turn into fat if you don’t burn it off.

    It’s a sleazy marketing ploy akin to Subway’s ‘heart-healthy’ subs that virtually no one with any level headed consumer will buy solely for their ‘health value’.

  12. coan_net says:

    Well duh…. if your kid is inside eating Cocoa Kripies all day, they can’t be outside getting the Swine Flu.

  13. PLATTWORX says:

    The FDA needs to somehow get a hold of all these food and diet suppliment claims before someone is seriously hurt. As it is now, any product can say “studies suggest..” and claim anything they want.

    Kellogg’s has taken this to a new low! Shame on them.

    • ivanthemute says:

      @PLATTWORX: But that’s the thing, when the Cheerio’s bit came up, the FDA said “change the box or we regulate you.” General Mills then said “here’s the clinical studies. Go ahead, regulate.” The FDA looked it over and said “Ok, we’re good.” G-M had actually done the studies regarding soluble fiber in foods and cholesterol. Kellogs looks like they found a new tool in Photoshop and wanted to do something with it.

  14. MyPetFly says:

    I can see how it can improve immunity, if the alternative is starvation.

  15. Rask says:

    More vitamins in food children eat is already a good thing. How about they put somemore in the non-sugary cereals that I traditionally buy for my kids to help them as well without the crazy sugar rush.

  16. bishophicks says:

    “Helps support your child’s IMMUNITY!!”

    So do vaccinations.

    Guess which one I’m choosing for my children?

    Jonas Salk would be disgusted.

  17. B says:

    I thought it was Count Chocula that saved you from vampires.

  18. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Bah. They should label the cereal “PROLONGS YOUR EFFING LIFE YOU MORONS!”

    …since eating *something* vs. eating *nothing* will, indeed, prolong your life. Every food product in existence could be marketed that way.

  19. iron_chef says:

    they gotta clamp down that BS.

    It’s cereal quackery.

  20. AngryK9 says:

    I guess I better run out and get some. I’ve never had a flu least not in my adult years.

  21. krispykrink says:

    Boy you guys are SLOW! I mentioned this crap back in September!


  22. dbissig says:

    It’s got ELECTROLYTES.

    Reminds me of 7up advertising its ANTIOXIDANTS, (i.e. Vitamins C and E). If you haven’t seen this yet, searching google images for “7up antioxidant” will bring up a bunch of photos.

  23. Buy used! says:

    I can’t decide which is worse: being fooled by the “Immunity” claim, or feeding children this milk pollutant in the first place. I personally don’t see them pulling anyone away from All-Bran; they’re probably just poaching the Count Chocula crowd. (The good news is these kids will be covered for their diabetes treatments when they’re older!)

  24. Buckler says:

    I’m not too worried. The words “help” and “support” are weasel-words. The manufacturer never claimed that cocoa-krispies provide immunity, they just implied that they “help support” immunity. Hell, even water does that. What’s unfortunate is that they decided to target non-savvy consumers who were likely taken in by this BS.

  25. nbs2 says:

    @harvey_birdman: Then what would the responsible company do?

    On one hand, people fret over the quality of food that children are consuming outside of school; on the other, people are fretting that companies fortify their “appealing” product with some sort of nutrition.

    Would it be better to have the kids eat oatmeal/eggs for breakfast? Sure. but, if they are going to eat crap, make it healthier. The sign says, “you could get the Cocoa Pebbles, but at least you get some goodnees from our stuff.”

    As for Vitamin C, if all it does is help the body function properly (is that a holistic properly or an immune system properly?), then perhaps we need to lay down some sort of smackdown on most of the pharm aisle and the OJ folks for pushing Vitamin C as the immunity booster

  26. HogwartsAlum says:

    @harvey_birdman: Excess Vitamin C is excreted. Your body doesn’t store it. So adding more won’t help you.

    You’re absolutely right; this cereal is crap. They’re just trying to sell it.

  27. mazzic1083 says:

    @thehouserules: Have you ever thought of selling snake oil?

  28. madog says:

    @thehouserules: D’oh!

  29. Con Seannery says:

    @MostlyHarmless: You earn that star. You earn that star EVERY DAY.

  30. floraposte says:

    @nbs2: If you’re seeing health claims on OJ, I got no problem with extending the smackdown. “Contains Vitamin ∞” I’m fine with, presuming it’s true; making an unproven health claim for what the food does? Smackdown-worthy.

  31. rosvicl says:

    @nbs2: Yes, we do. The problem is that the “supplement” industry got a law through that says they can make all sorts of dubious claims about vitamins and such as long as they say things like “supports a healthy immune system” rather than “improves your immune system” or “makes you immune to X.” Even things with known value get that sort of hand-waving: my vitamin D and calcium supplements don’t mention that vitamin D is needed for healthy teeth and bones (and rickets is a non-trivial problem for people without enough vitamin D).

    Of course, the amount of vitamins in most of those pills is way more than you need for the proven benefits.

  32. thesadtomato says:

    @Digitizer: You read my mind.

  33. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    @mazzic1083: Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, soup, cake, and yes, just pumpkin. Roasted pumpkin is awesome! It is soo good. I was introduced to it in Australia.

    Oh, and no on the pumpkin krispies, but if they had a sweet nutmeg flavor I bet they would be good too, lol!

    I have really bad pumpkin cravings in the fall. Mild cravings through the rest of the year, but pumpkins are everywhere this time of year and I want to EAT them!

  34. dragonprism says:

    @mazzic1083: Yes, but how often do people get the standard meal that actually is the ‘heart association approved meal’.

    Yes, it’s healthier–but only if you get it a certain way. Much like cereal, if you eat it a certain way (ie proper portion size.)

    We, being smart consumers, realize the difference between manipulated advertisements and actual facts. The public as a whole do not.

  35. JulesNoctambule says:

    @Kimaroo – Fortified with Kittydus Purrularis: I’m one box of cupcake liners away from making pumpkin cupcakes. Mmm. Come to mama, punpkin goodness!