The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has threatened to sue cereal-maker Kellogg and media kingpin Viacom, owner of the Nickelodeon cable network, if neither stop marketing health-harming foods to children within 30 days.
Out of more than 50 TV ads for Kellogg products, 98 percent of them were for products whose ingredients included, by weight, more than 35 percent of extra sugars.
The lawsuit aims to prevent companies from marketing junk food when 15 percent or more of the audience is 8 years old or younger. It seeks to include not only television commercials, but also Web sites, toy giveaways, contests and other marketing aimed at children.
A lawsuit of this nature has not occurred since 1983, when General Foods company settled a case out of court.
CSPI grabbed some well-deserved attention last summer when they asked the FDA to require cigarette-style warnings on all non-diet soft drinks, the leading source of calories in America. Their newest crusade tackles two more contributors -- TV and processed sugary foods -- to the plague of childhood obesity.
Of course, Viacom and Kellogg denied any responsibility, and with the Alliance for American Advertising and the Federal Trade Commission watching their corporate backsides, realistically, not much may happen.
Clearly, Kellogg is the worst of the cereal companies, the Monsanto of the breakfast cereal business. Strangely, it was founded by two brothers who were seeking to improve health outcomes ...
The irony of all this: Nickelodeon is the one kids-oriented network actively airing health ads that expose refined sugars, hydrogenated fats, processed food, and junk food as bad for children to consume. What's more, CSPI has been on a campaign to lump all sugars together, claiming, wrongly, that corn-derived fructose is no different than the levulose that comes from fruit.