5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Nov. 6

Kellogg's Swine Flu Silliness

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Who needs a swine flu shot when you can have a bowl of Cocoa Krispies instead?

Cereal maker Kellogg (K) (Stock Quote: K) is being needled by critics for claiming that its Cocoa Krispies brand, among its other cereals, helps fight the flu by boosting "your child's immunity." Kellogg's flu-fighting assertions arrive at a touchy time for parents already anxious about their children's exposure to the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu.

Last week, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent a letter to Kellogg as well as the Food and Drug Administration demanding that Kellogg prove its claim, according to USA Today.

"I am concerned the prominent use of the immunity claims to advertise a sugar-laden chocolate cereal like Cocoa Krispies may mislead and deceive parents of young children," Herrera wrote.

Darn tooting, Dennis! How dare they?! The next thing those BS artists in Battle Creek are going to say is that Frosted Flakes will lower your blood pressure. Or Froot Loops will improve your cholesterol. Well, we don't buy it.

Apparently neither does Kellogg, which is desperately trying to defuse this Krispies — and certainly kooky — controversy. The company maintains that it started planning this whole "immunity" theme a year ago, well before the swine flu reached epidemic proportions. Kellogg started increasing the amount of antioxidant vitamins A, C and E — supposedly immune system boosters — in its products earlier this year.

"It was not created to capitalize on the current H1N1 flu situation," says spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz. "Kellogg developed this product in response to consumers expressing a need for more positive nutrition."

From our vantage point, both sides of this cereal war are acting like a bunch of flakes.

Dumb-o-meter score: 95 — Anyone willing to believe they can ward off the flu with a kiddie cereal has likely already snapped, crackled and popped.



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