Monday, June 07, 2010

Kellogg Agrees to Tougher Restrictions to Resolve FTC Ad Claims

This posting was written by Jeffrey May, Editor of CCH Trade Regulation Reporter.

After resolving an FTC complaint last year that it had engaged in false advertising by claiming that eating a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal would improve childrens’ attentiveness, the Kellogg Company has agreed to settle agency allegations that it made questionable immunity-related claims for its Rice Krispies cereal. The cereal maker has agreed to new advertising restricts.

Under the FTC consent order resolving the 2009 complaint, Kellogg was barred from making claims about the benefits to cognitive health, process, or function provided by any cereal or any morning food or snack food unless the claims were true or substantiated.

The modified consent order prohibits Kellogg from making claims about any health benefit of any food unless the claims are backed by scientific evidence and are not misleading.

On product packaging, Kellogg claimed that Rice Krispies cereal “now helps support your child’s immunity,” with “25 percent Daily Value of Antioxidants and Nutrients—Vitamins A,B,C, and E.” The back of the cereal box stated that “Kellogg’s Rice Krispies has been improved to include antioxidants and nutrients tht your family needs to help them stay healthy.”

Concurring Statements

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Commissioner Julie Brill issued a concurring statement, expressing their concern “that at the same time that Kellogg was making promises to the Commission regarding Frosted Mini-Wheats, the company was preparing to make problematic claims about Rice Krispies.”

The statement noted that “[i]n light of the timing of the launch of the Rice Krispies campaign, it is reasonable to conclude that planning for the new `immunity’ claims was well underway while Kellogg was negotiating and finalizing its agreement with the FTC to not make unsubstantiated `cognitive ability’ claims about Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

The case is In the Matter of Kellogg Co., FTC File No. 082 3145, June 3, 2010. A news release on the case appears here on the FTC website. An order to show cause and order modifying order appears here. Further details will appear in CCH Trade Regulation Reporter.

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