Herrera claims that the company is playing to the public's fears about the recent swine flu epidemic by insinuating that eating Cocoa Krispies is analogous to, say, getting a flu shot. "The immunity claims may also mislead parents into believing that serving this sugary cereal will actually boost their child's immunity, leaving less likely to take more productive steps to protect their children's health," reads Herrera's letter.
Herrera's spokesman, Matt Dorsey told SF Weekly that although other cereals
may make similar medicinal claims, oftentimes those companies will include "language that adds 'truthiness,'" he said. "The content and prominence of the line 'now helps support your child's immunity' is a significant departure from normal marketing-speak." Kellogg's has not yet returned SF Weekly's calls.
Cocoa Krispies' ingredients do not include flu vaccines (and the "immunity" cereal is 40 percent sugar by weight). Yet, according to Kellogg's Web site, the breakfast cereal is laden with high-fructose corn syrup, which is apparently very healthy -- if you believe corn syrup advertisements sponsored by corn farmers.
UPDATE: A Kellogg's company spokesperson, Susanne Norwitz, responded to SF Weekly's inquiries in an email this morning. Norwitz wrote that Kellogg's Krispies cereals provide consumers with 25 percent of their daily value of vitamins A, C, and E, which play an important role in boosting immunity according to peer-reviewed, published, scientific research.