Published on May 28th, 2009 | by Cate Nelson7
Cheerios Are a Drug, Man
In one more laughable act, the FDA recently sent a warning letter to popular cereal maker General Mills to discuss the drug they manufacture. You know, that donut-shaped drug you can pop by the handful:
Based on claims made on your product’s label, we have determined that your Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug.
Let’s see: the FDA failed consumers when it came to the peanut-Salmonella outbreak. It recently suggested lifting the fish consumption warnings for children and pregnant women, despite mercury worries (and not to mention the mercury in high fructose corn syrup!). When U.S. infant formula was found to have low levels of melamine–but still above international standards for the chemical–the FDA simply said, “Meh. We’ll just raise the amount allowable.”
The Food and Drug Administration is busy ignoring all of these potentially problematic issues, but has plenty of time to harass a cereal company about its claims about whole grains. Seriously?!
Look, I’m not big on General Mills cereals. I prefer organic for my kiddos. But I find it pretty ludicrous that this is what the FDA has been spending its time on. Complain about being understaffed and underfunded if you must (it’s the same ol’ song of any government agency). But it’s dumbfounding that the FDA is actually wasting their precious little resources on this.
Now that the cereal is a drug, it must get approval from the FDA or change the way it is marketed. But it seems the FDA just isn’t paying attention (as usual). General Mills responded in a statement:
Cheerios’ soluble fiber heart health claim has been FDA-approved for 12 years, and that its “lower your cholesterol four percent in six weeks” message has been featured on the box for more than two years.
The FDA ended its statement,
Because of these intended uses, the product is a drug.
Compared to most of the stuff the FDA regulates as a drug, I’d reach for a box of cereal any day.
Image: House of Sims on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
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