FDA warns Cheerios on health claims

Regulators say the popular cereal is falsely labeled as a way to lower cholesterol.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration is chiding Cheerios for making false claims about the popular cereal's health benefits.

The federal regulatory agency questioned General Mills' claims that Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal can help lower cholesterol and treat heart disease.

"You can lower your cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks," says the label on Cheerios' boxes.

A warning letter to General Mills posted on the FDA's Web site Wednesday said only FDA-approved drugs are allowed to make such claims.

"Your Cheerios product is misbranded," the letter said. General Mills defended its heart health claim saying that it has been FDA-approved for 12 years and the message about lowering cholesterol has appeared on Cheerios boxes for more than two years.

"The science is not in question," General Mills (GIS, Fortune 500) said in a statement. "The scientific body of evidence supporting the heart health claim was the basis for FDA's approval of the heart health claim, and the clinical study supporting Cheerios' cholesterol-lowering benefit is very strong." To top of page

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