Sunday, 6 June 2010

Cereal is good for you says Kellogg... says who?

The Consumerist has an interesting story about Kellogg's being ordered to stop saying its cereals make people healthier (supposedly Rice Krispies were to help support 'your child's immunity').

It is the second time (previously Frosted Mini-Wheats were advertised as bound to increase children's attentiveness) when Kellogg, a brand known worldwide for its various cereals, has been caught on misleading the consumers in its advertisements by making them believe in cereals unproven health benefits. As previously, US Federal Trade Commission settled with Kellogg ordering them to stop marketing their products by using health claims unless they were backed up by scientific evidence. The FTC believes that:

“As a trusted, long-established company with a presence in millions of American homes, Kellogg must not shirk its responsibility to do the right thing when it advertises the food we feed our children,”

However, the settlement does not provide for any financial nor legal sanctions for Kellogg (read more on that here). The company just promised to do better next time. Which, by the way, they have already done the previous time. I guess FTC believes that companies, like people, learn on their mistakes and change with time. This has to be the reason why the FCT gave Kellogg not the second but the THIRD chance to do good. Call my a cynic but I believe that the fourth time awaits around the corner...

In Europe this type of advertising would be considered to be misleading based on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC. The sanctions for using such an advertising are determined in national laws of the Member States, however, one would expect that at least certain fines would be applied.

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