Cereal killer: a food giant questions its strategy against obesity

The Kellogg’s cereal factory at 425 Porter Street on October 7, 2021 in Battle Creek, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP)

LONDON — Cereal giant Kellogg’s said on Wednesday it had launched legal action against new rules that will limit the prominence of sugary foods in English stores as part of a new campaign against obesity.

The government’s strategy only calculates the fat, salt and sugar content of cereals when eaten dry, not when taken with milk, the US company said in a statement announcing the judicial review. .

“We have tried to have a reasonable conversation with the UK government over the past 12 months about implementing this change, but to no avail,” said Kellogg UK chief executive Chris Silcock.

Ban on television commercials

“All of this is important because unless you take into account the added nutrients when cereal is eaten with milk, the full nutritional value of the meal is not measured,” he said.

The new regulations, which come into force in England in October, will also ban television advertising of unhealthy foods before 9 p.m., in an attempt to limit children’s exposure.

The state-funded National Health Service (NHS) estimates that around 10% of 4- and 5-year-olds are obese, and it’s double that figure for 10- and 11-year-olds.

He adds that one in four adults are obese, with cheap, high-calorie foods being partly to blame.

The government said it would resist Kellogg’s challenge, noting that obesity costs the NHS more than £6 billion ($7.5 billion) a year and is the second leading cause of cancer in the UK.

“Breakfast cereals contribute a significant 7% of children’s average daily intake of free sugars,” a Health Department spokesperson said.

“Restricting the promotion and advertising of less healthy foods is an important part of the intergovernmental strategy to halve childhood obesity by 2030, prevent harmful diseases and improve healthy life expectancy. , so that we can continue to improve health across the country.

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