Left-wing group turns cereal killer, tries to whack Snap, Crackle, Pop and Toucan Sam

     R.I.P. Toucan Sam (1963-2007). Chalk another victory up for the fat police.


     CBS “Early Show” anchor Hannah Storm supported getting rid of the characters on June 14.


     “Well, that’s a great idea Nancy, because you can’t even take your child to the grocery store because they’re clamoring for the products with characters on them. When are we going to see them disappear?” Storm asked Nancy Cordes who was reporting from a grocery store.


     Killing off the characters could be the result of an arrangement between Kellogg Company (NYSE: K) and what the media called a “consumer advocacy” group. After being threatened with a lawsuit from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and two Massachusetts parents, the company has decided to limit its marketing during shows geared toward children.


     The muscle behind the effort to shake down the Battle Creek, Mich.-based

company was the radical left-wing CSPI – a food police group that supports anti-industry regulation on practically everything.


     NBC’s “Today,” spun the decision as a “partnership” between the company and CSPI – deemphasizing that it stemmed from threats of legal action.


     The agreement means that if a serving of the cereal contains more than 200 calories, two grams of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium or 12 grams of sugar, then Kellogg’s won’t market it on television programs that have at least a 50 percent audience of children 12 or younger.


     While Tony the Tiger will remain, this could mean the end for long-time cereal box characters like Snap, Crackle and Pop, who have been an icon of Kellogg’s dating as far back as 1933. It also could mean the death of Fruit Loops’ Toucan Sam and Sugar Smacks Dig ‘Em.


     Kellogg’s told ABC’s “Good Morning America” the products that can’t be reformulated to meet the manufacturer’s self-imposed nutritional criteria for television commercials will be either marketed to an older group or they’ll stop advertising it altogether.


     CSPI has a notorious reputation for attacking industries which manufacture products they deem create “unhealthy choices” for consumers. CSPI was also behind a lawsuit that forced KFC to cut trans fats from its cooking.


     In this case, the organization had decided to shoot the messenger instead of campaigning for the “healthy choices” it advocates. “And studies show that marketing to kids influences children’s food choices, food preferences and what they ask their parents to purchase,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, to ABC’s “Good Morning America” on June 14.