Did you get a buzz last time you had any Cheerios? Actually the classification is due to the labeling which the FDA holds in question. A clinical study showed the cholesterol-lowering benefit is good, but the labeling does tend to lead folks on to the fact that eating the cereal is actually some sort of treatment plan. Last time I looked there was no prescription necessary to buy a box (grin).
Hey, General Mills: If you want to say Cheerios is “clinically proven to lower cholesterol,” you better get your whole-grain Os approved as a new drug by the FDA.
That’s what the FDA told the company in this letter, which says the labeling on Cheerios boxes is in “serious violation” of federal rules. The letter continues:
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.
Food makers can point out that soluble fiber from whole grain oats has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. But the wording on the Cheerios labeling doesn’t follow the rules for making that sort of health claim, the letter says.