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Kellogg’s Cereals Banned in Denmark


Kellogg's has defended its cereals after authorities in Denmark banned the sale of 18 of the company's breakfast cereals and cereal bars.

Kellogg's has defended its cereals after authorities in Denmark banned the sale of 18 of the company's breakfast cereals and cereal bars. On Wednesday, officials at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration announced that the sale of the enriched Kellogg's products was banned, saying they could damage the health of children and pregnant women. The company, which expressed incredulity at the decision, had hoped to enrich 18 breakfast foods and cereal bars with iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and folic acid, just as they already do in many countries. However, the Danes said that Kellogg’s wanted to include "toxic" doses, which, if eaten regularly, could damage children's livers and kidneys and harm fetuses in pregnant women.

This is the first time that Danish authorities have rejected foods enriched with vitamins and minerals since a European Union ruling in 2003 forced them to embrace such additives. The Danish agency said it had based its decision on "a scientific evaluation of (food) safety." Although Denmark's government has authorized food producers to add vitamin supplements to their products, Consumer Affairs Minister Henriette Kjaer supported the agency's decision. She said: "In this case, the experts deem that 18 products could put consumers at risk, and that is why, in my opinion, we cannot let them be distributed on the market." Denmark's National Consumer Agency, which has traditionally fought to keep additives out of Danish food, also said it was pleased with the decision to block the products. Gitte Gross from the agency commented: "It is very important that we take this case very seriously because supplements are not candies. One must be careful not to consume too much because they are harmful in large quantities."

The rejection was decided last month after a government laboratory conducted a scientific examination of ingredient lists provided by the company. The company responded that it had added vitamins and other nutrients to their products since the 1930s and that its products enriched by other ingredients would remain on sale. Unlike many other countries, Denmark does not have recommended daily allowances of nutrients. Chris Wermann, director of corporate affairs for Kellogg's in Europe, said: "The extra B6 and folic acid accounted for a quarter of a person's daily allowance, and the calcium and iron just 17%. It is quite clear from nutritionists that diets around the globe are deficient in vitamins and minerals. We are quite worried about the Danish authorities challenging this. We don't believe there is any danger at all. There is every reason for people to have these." He added that details of added ingredients were labelled clearly on products and were well within recognised international guidelines. The company is planning to have further discussions with the Danish authorities.

Read the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration press release.

Article details

  • Date
  • 12 August 2004
  • Subject(s)
  • Awaiting Classification (11)