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Kellogg Under Fire For Using 'Harmful Additives' In Its Cereals

One of Kellogg's investors is calling on the company to eliminate artificial dyes from its cereals.
FACT CHECKED BY Chris Shott

Last month, WK Kellogg CEO Gary Pilnick faced online backlash after suggesting that budget-conscious consumers could eat cereal for dinner in order to save money. Now, the food company is under fire yet again over the ingredients in its cereals—and the complaints are coming from one of its own investors.

Jason Karp, a Kellogg shareholder and founder of the healthy foods company HumanCo, sent a letter to the company on March 13 to call it out for using "harmful additives" in its cereal products. In the letter—which was first reported by The New York Times' DealBook but was also shared with Eat This, Not That!—Karp pointed out that Kellogg cereal brands such as Froot Loops and Baby Shark still contain artificial dyes like Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 1 despite the company pledging to phase out those types of ingredients back in 2015.

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Kellogg's Baby Shark Cereal
Anatoliy Tesouro / Shutterstock

Karp also noted that while Kellogg has removed artificial additives from its products in other countries, including Canada, they have yet to be eliminated from the American versions of those food items. He alleged that the additives are "harmful" to children and that their continued presence in Kellogg products can harm the company's performance and reputation.

"As a minimum first step, Kellogg must reinstate – and immediately deliver on – its commitment to remove artificial dyes from its products," he wrote. "We demand that Americans receive the safest versions of products that Kellogg already produces abroad."

It's important to note that even though Karp described the additives as unsafe, Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 1 are among the dyes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits in food. While some research has found links between artificial dyes and hyperactivity in children, other studies haven't been able to definitively confirm that the additives are harmful to kids.

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Still, Karp is far from alone in his calls for the dyes to be eliminated from American foods.  A California lawmaker recently introduced a new bill that would ban seven additives from foods served in the state's public schools, including Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 1, NBC News reported. If it is signed into law in 2024, the legislation would go into effect at the beginning of next year.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy organization, has also been calling on the FDA since 2008 to ban Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and several other dyes.

Kellogg did not immediately respond to our queries for comment on Karp's letter.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe