Kellogg’s Whole Wheat Cheez-It Problem

18819016449_457cbb9cbb_b (Flickr.com)On Thursday, a class-action complaint was filed against Kellogg, the maker of Cheez-It over the use of the term whole grain. The complaint alleges that the so-called “whole grain” version is nearly identical to the original version and they are asking Kellogg to stop marketing the Whole Grain Cheez-Its as it is. The plaintiffs content that the whole grain version contains enriched white flour rather than the whole wheat flour, which contains high amounts of fiber. They contend that the flour used mainly consists of starch and the fiber is either very little or none at all.

The Plaintiff’s also contend that after doing a side by side comparison the nutritional information is similar except for the value of grams (the whole grain version “has a full gram and the regular version has “less than a gram.” According to Maia Kats, the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s litigation director, customers are seeking out whole grain food because of their nutritional values and have an expectation to expect that when something is listed as whole grain, it is to be the main ingredient. Since it is
contented that the whole grain version has more white flour than whole grain, it is being equated to junk food and a way for the Kellogg Company to take financial advantage of consumers.

As of the moment, the FDA does not have rules that are enforceable in terms of what is
considered a whole grain product. However, they do have guidelines on how best to use the term when it comes to labeling food products. This begs the question, should the FDA have more stringent rules on what constitutes a whole grain product? This question needs to be asked as much of the population is trending toward a healthier lifestyle and are more conscious as to how food products are made.

Just having what amounts to a suggestion list does not seem to be answer. In closing, the question that this lawsuit will generate is should the FDA become more involved in what can and cannot be marketed in terms of consumer food products?

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