Health and nutrition experts are attacking Kellogg for claims that one of its cereals benefits children's immune systems because it contains increased levels of vitamins A, C and E.
Bold lettering on the front of Cocoa Krispies boxes claims the cereal "Now helps support your child's IMMUNITY," a declaration likely to catch the eye of parents worried about the danger the H1N1 virus presents to their children.
"The idea that eating Cocoa Krispies will keep a kid from getting swine flu, or from catching a cold, doesn't make sense," Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, told USA Today. "Yes, these nutrients are involved in immunity, but I can't think of a nutrient that isn't involved in the immune system."
After she saw the cereal box claims in August, she sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has jurisdiction over false or misleading labeling. Nestle hasn't heard back from the agency.
Many others are outraged by the marketing tactic. The City of San Francisco sent a letter to the FDA asking that it make Kellogg prove its claim, USA Today reported.
The claim "was not created to capitalize on the current H1N1 flu situation," said Kellogg spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz. The cereal was developed "in response to consumers expressing a need for more positive nutrition."