Health

Is Cheerios a Delicious Cereal or Cholesterol Lowering Drug?

| by Reason Foundation

Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal=Lipitor? The FDA says yes, the editorial board of The Washington Times says no:

The latest verdict from the Food and Drug Administration is that Cheerios is a drug. Parents, then, must be drug pushers.

The FDA sent a warning to Cheerios maker General Mills Inc. that it is in serious violation of federal rules.

"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 because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease" the FDA letter said. "[Cheerios] may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application."

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The kicker? The FDA doesn't actually contest Cheerios' cholesterol-lowering claims. This is all just bureaucratic turf defense. No one contends that General Mills is lying, or that people are being misled—well, no one except the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who exercised their usual rhetorical restraint and called Cheerios "21st-century version of snake oil." But someone at the FDA got a bee in their bonnet (maybe that bee that advertises Honey Nut Cheerios?) and now General Mills will have to spend many, many thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours to defend their right to publish a true claim on their own cereal boxes.