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‘Excessively fortified’ cereals could pose risks to children, report suggests

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Children who eat a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal may be getting too much of a good thing, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group.

The report says “millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts” of vitamin A, zinc and niacin.

Breakfast cereals are the leading source of the excessive nutrients because all three micronutrients are added in amounts calculated for adults, according to the report.

Outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing fuel the potential risk.

The Food and Drug Administration is currently updating nutrition facts labels that appear on food packages, however the proposed changes to do address the over-consumption of fortified micronutrients. The values for most vitamins and minerals were set by the FDA in 1968.

Adequate amounts of nutrients is needed to maintain health, but the overconsumption of some minerals can lead to health issues such as liver damage and skeletal abnormalities. High zinc intakes can impair copper absorption and negatively affect red and white blood cells and immune function, and consuming too much niacin can cause short-term symptoms such as rash, nausea and vomiting, according to the report.

Here are 23 “excessively fortified cereals,” according to EWG:

Breakfast cereals, in alphabetical order One serving would overexpose children to:

Zinc

Niacin

Vitamin A

Essential Everyday Bran Flakes Cereal

Food Club Essential Choice Bran Flakes

Food Lion Enriched Bran Flakes Cereal

Food Lion Whole Grain 100 Cereal

General Mills Total + Omega-3 Honey Almond Flax

General Mills Total Raisin Bran

General Mills Total Whole Grain

General Mills Wheaties Fuel

Giant Eagle Bran Flakes

Great Value Multi Grain Flakes

Kashi U 7 Whole Grain Flakes & Granola with Black Currants & Walnuts

✔**

Kellogg’s All-Bran Complete, Wheat Flakes

Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies (single 2.3 oz serving in a plastic container)

✔**

Kellogg’s Krave, Chocolate (single 1.87 oz serving in a plastic container)

Kellogg’s Product 19

Kellogg’s Smart Start, Original Antioxidants, Antioxidant Vitamins A, C & E, Including Beta Carotene

Kemach Whole Wheat Flakes Cereal

Kiggins Bran Flakes

Roundy’s Bran Flakes

Safeway Kitchens Bran Flakes

Shop Rite Bran Flakes

Shur Fine Wheat Bran

Stop&Shop Source 100

* See Table A1 in Appendix A for details on the Daily Value levels for each cereal.
** When eaten with milk, these cereals contain 50 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A per serving. Vitamin A-fortified milk can contain 10-15 percent of the adult Daily Value, corresponding to 150-225 mg RAE (Retinol Activity Equivalents). Eaten with one cup of milk containing 10 percent of the adult Daily Value, these cereals provide 900 mg RAE, reaching the 900 mg/d RAE Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for 4-to-8-year-old children.

Read more: USA TODAYEnvironmental Working Group

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