Friday, May 22, 2009

Froot Loops, Corn Pops & Apple Jacks: Grain Central?

(Second of four parts)

The goal of the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Program—advertised on Kellogg’s Tri-Fun Pack of Froot Loops, Corn Pops and Apple Jacks—is to provide healthy meals and snacks to our children through such components as the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.

I called Kellogg’s and asked Rick how the cereals (all with sugar as the first or second ingredient) “qualified for the U.S.D.A. nutrition program, grain/bread component.”

“The grains meet the standards,” Rick said. “We’re trying to get the best ingredients into our products. We are using whole grains; not just in cereals but also in our cookies and crackers.

“We’re using more grains than just flour, like whole wheat flour and whole oat flour,” he continued. “These are more nutritious products. The reformulation started at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.”

Rick’s “more nutritious” statement could easily win the “That’s So Relative” contest.

Sure, the new Froot Loops and Apple Jacks containing corn, wheat and oat flour are a step up from their grain-deficient ancestors, but one must suspend reality to ever think that these products can be described as nutritious.

Where are the colorful labels proclaiming the high sugar content, the partially hydrogenated oil and petroleum-based artificial colors?

In theory, the Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Program is great. In reality, the plan is lacking because of financial, political and administrative pressures.

(Tuesday: My second call to Kellogg's)

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