Popular cereal is a drug, US food watchdog says
Popular US breakfast cereal ‘Cheerios’ is a drug, at least if the claims made on the label by its manufacturer General Mills are anything to go by, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said.
“Based on claims made on your product’s label, we have determined that ‘Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal’ is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug,” the FDA said in a letter to General Mills which was posted on the federal agency’s website.
‘Cheerios’ labels claim that eating the cereal can help lower bad cholesterol, a risk factor for coronary heart disease, by four percent in six weeks.
Citing a clinical study, the product labels also claim that eating two servings a day of ‘Cheerios’ helps to reduce bad cholesterol – when eaten as part of a diet – low in saturated fat and cholesterol, the FDA letter says.
Those claims indicate that ‘Cheerios’ – said by General Mills to be the best-selling cereal in the United States – was to be used to lower cholesterol and prevent, lessen or treat the disease hypercholesterolemia, and to treat and prevent coronary heart disease.
“Because of these intended uses, the product is a drug,” the FDA concluded in its letter.
Not only that but ‘Cheerios’ is a new drug because it has not been “recognised as safe and effective for use in preventing or treating hypercholesterolemia or coronary heart disease”, the FDA said. afp