Herrera Applauds Kellogg’s Reversal on ‘Cocoa Krispies’ Immunity Claims

City Attorney had invoked California’s tough Unfair Competition Law last week in demanding substantiation for children’s immunity claims

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 4, 2009) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today applauded a move by Kellogg’s to end its controversial recent marketing practice of claiming that Cocoa Krispies and other cereal products “now helps support your child’s immunity.” On Oct. 27, Herrera invoked his consumer protection authority under California’s Unfair Competition Law in a letter to the president and CEO of the Battle Creek, Mich.-based company in which the City Attorney demanded substantiation for the fact-based health claims. Boxes of cereal prominently boasting the alleged health benefit had reportedly begun to appear on the shelves of San Francisco stores against the backdrop of heightened concerns about a potential Swine Flu epidemic. In his letter last week, Herrera wrote, “The Immunity Claims may also mislead parents into believing that serving this sugary cereal will actually boost their child’s immunity, leaving parents less likely to take more productive steps to protect their children’s health.” In response to Kellogg’s announcement today, City Attorney Herrera issued the following statement:

“I am gratified that Kellogg’s listened to our concerns, and recognized the obligation we all have to convey accurate information in the context of a serious public health concern like swine flu. I know many critics viewed the company’s claim as a cynical marketing ploy to prey on parents’ fears about their kids’ health. Notwithstanding the benefits of vitamins, prudence and integrity demanded this step, and I’m glad Kellogg’s took it.”