Cereal Manufacturers Protest Proposed Restriction on “Healthy” Labeling


In response to epidemiologic evidence that excess sugar intake is deleterious, especially for children, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing label rules that would effectively prevent cereal manufacturers from claiming that their products are “healthy”.  This action follows initiatives to reduce sugar and salt content of foods, especially those for children.  Similar action is contemplated in Germany.


Predictably General Mills, Kellogg and Post Holdings have threatened legal action to oppose the FDA proposal claiming violation of First Amendment rights.  Collectively, the cereal companies claim that 95 percent of major ready-to-eat cereals would be unable to make a “healthy” claim.  The manufacturers stated, “Ready-to-eat cereal is recognized for its value and nutritional benefits in federal feeding programs that reach more than 20 million participants who are nutritionally at risk. 


There is obviously nothing essentially “unhealthy” concerning cereal.  The problem arises from the addition of excessive quantities of sugar that provide empty calories and may predispose to diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  In contrast to cereals with excessive sugar, parents should consider egg dishes for breakfast and snacks to provide a balance of amino acids, minerals and vitamins with a low caloric intake.