It’s enough to make you just bust out the bacon and eggs.
Cheerios, the best-selling cereal in the world, isn’t as healthy as its packaging leads shoppers to believe, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
In a letter to General Mills Inc., regulators scolded the company for “serious violations” and gave it 15 days to fix claims that the iconic ‘Os’ lower cholesterol and treat heart disease.
A Cheerios box makes several claims about health benefits, including this boast: “You can lower your cholesterol 4 percent in six weeks.”
Only FDA-approved drugs can make those claims, the regulators wrote, repeatedly calling the labels statements “unauthorized.”
It also slaps the company’s Web site, www.wholegrainnation.com, for promising the same health benefits and failing to mention that fruits and vegetables can also reduce risks.
“Therefore, your claim does not convey that all these factors together help to reduce the risk of heart disease and does not enable the public to understand the significance of the claim in the context of the total daily diet,” the letter said.
General Mills said in a statement that it’s not the science behind their claims that is under attack, just the way their boxes are labeled.
They added that they’ve made the same health claims for years.
“The science is not in question,” said spokesman Tom Forsythe. “The FDA is interested in how the Cheerios cholesterol-lowering information is presented on the Cheerios package and Web site.”
If General Mills doesn’t comply, it could face a court injunction or product seizure.