Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can Apple Jacks Really Be Considered Healthy?

(Fourth of four parts)

The discrepancy between the answers Kellogg’s provided prompted my third call of the day.

I asked the basic question again (
“How do these cereals qualify for the U.S.D.A. nutrition program, grain/bread component?”) and Janine answered similarly to Veronica. I offered my U.S.D.A.- F.D.A. disconnect theory, which caused Janine pause. She asked for my name and phone number, since she wanted an in-house nutrition specialist to phone me directly with the correct answer.

Rebecca’s call came two days later. A nurse who handles many nutritional questions posed by Kellogg’s customers, Rebecca assured me that Rick’s answer was correct. The increased grain levels were what made all three cereals eligible to be used in the U.S.D.A. Child Nutrition Program.

She apologized for the confusion and promised to have the correct answer added to the customer service representatives’ database.

(I’m kind of hoping that Veronica is banished to ice floe-watching duty in Siberia. Rick, on the other hand, was a nice guy.)

Now, some bigger questions:

Did the same guy who ordered the photo-op of Air Force One flying over the Statue of Liberty decide on the nutritional requirements for the Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Program?

If you were from outer space, would you be able to tell which of the boxes pictured above contains product to clean clothes and which contains product to put in your body?

Aren’t we setting the bar a little low when the minimal grain content of Froot Loops, Corn Pops and Apple Jacks can be used as justification for their inclusion in government food programs? Shouldn’t there be a disqualifier for products that contain an exorbitant amount of sugar, partially hydrogenated oil and artificial colors?

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