Magazine article USA TODAY

FDA Calls Cheerios an "Unapproved Drug"

Magazine article USA TODAY

FDA Calls Cheerios an "Unapproved Drug"

Article excerpt

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to cereal manufacturer General Mills for claiming on its cereal box that Cheerios can help lower cholesterol, and for saying on its website that "diets rich in whole grain foods can reduce the risk of heart disease." The letter calls these proclamations "serious violations" of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and applicable regulations. The FDA stated that, based on the claims made, Cheerios now is an unapproved drug, and must go through the agency's new drug approval process.

The American Association for Health Freedom, Arlington, Va., points out that the FDA has issued warning letters in the past to various food producers to keep them from telling consumers about the healthful nature of their products. For instance, cherry growers were targeted and enjoined from referencing peer-reviewed scientific articles proving the fruit's health benefits for gout and arthritis. For years, the FDA barred health claims about the benefits of fish oil for heart disease, cancer, depression, body pain, and a number of other conditions until a drug company paid a great deal of money to go through the approval process. …

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