The war on drugs has opened a new front: the breakfast table. The FDA, under orders to tighten enforcement on health-related claims for food products, informed General Mills that their promotion of Cheerios transforms it from a food to a drug when they claim the oat-based cereal can help lower cholesterol:
President Obama isn’t just rewriting rules regulating the environment and the financial markets — he is also going after the food industry.
Target and example No. 1: Cheerios.
“Based on claims made on your product’s label,” the FDA said in a letter to manufacturer General Mills, “we have determined (Cheerios) 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.”
If the government’s enforcement action against Cheerios were to hold up, the cereal would be pulled from grocery shelves and consumers would need a prescription to buy a box of those little oats.
That’s unlikely, but experts say the message is clear: There is a new sheriff in town and when it comes to false, misleading and exaggerated labeling, you had better clean up your act.
This is simply silly. Congress just gave the FDA authority over tobacco, and their first target is Cheerios? I can understand an effort to get General Mills to disclose that they funded the studies that reached the conclusions they advertise, but threatening to categorize Cheerios as a drug is about as good a parody of overreaching regulation as anything we could gin up in the blogosphere.
Barack Obama liked to remind us that we’re in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, although he’s ixnayed the Epression-day talk lately, since his policies seem to be making things worse. Maybe we can focus our attention and our resources on helping companies expand and employ people other than defense lawyers.
Update: Michelle was talking about cereal czars last month. Fox just got around to it, apparently.