Rice Krispies immunity claim gets Kellogg in trouble with the FTC -- again

Kellogg's claim on packaging that Rice Krispies boosts children's immunity has led to another smackdown for the cereal giant from the federal government.When it comes to claims about its cereals, Kellogg should just stick with "Snap, crackle and pop." The food maker has yet again run afoul of the federal government, this time for making questionable claims on packages of Rice Krispies that the cereal helps support children's immunity.

To settle the allegation, Kellogg said it would expand upon a settlement it reached last year when the Federal Trade Commission blasted the company for claiming that Frosted Mini-Wheats helped kids pay better attention. Under that settlement, Kellogg agreed to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims that its products improve "cognitive ability." This time, the company has agreed to stop making any unsupported claims about the health benefits of any of its food products. (Under pressure, Kellogg dropped the immunity-support claim on Rice Krispies in November).

"We expect more from a great American company than making dubious claims – not once, but twice – that its cereals improve children's health," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement. "Next time, Kellogg needs to stop and think twice about the claims it's making before rolling out a new ad campaign, so parents can make the best choices for their children."

The FTC voted unanimously to settle the case and issued this statement: "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."

Last year, Kellogg was unapologetic for its claims, saying only that it would follow the FTC's guidance. Same thing this time.

"Kellogg Company has a long history of responsible advertising," Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said in a statement sent to Consumer Ally. "We stand behind the validity of our product claims and research, so we agreed to an order that covers those claims. We believe that the revisions to the existing consent agreement satisfied any remaining concerns."

Kellogg is part of a long list of companies that try to lure consumers through questionable food marketing claims. Consumer Ally prepared a guide to help you learn more about how they try to confuse you.

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