Prepared Foods of April 4, 2005 enewsletter

In San Diego, Jennifer Hardee has sued three big cereal companies, accusing them of misleading advertising through prominent "low sugar" packaging. She was surprised to learn from a news story that the new cereals have no significant nutritional advantage to regular versions of the breakfast cereals, which are popular with kids.

Hardee, who has two young daughters who eat cereal, is suing Kraft Foods Co., General Mills Cereals, and Kellogg USA Inc., saying they intentionally misrepresent their products.

General Mills "never made specific health claims" for its reduced sugar cereals, said spokeswoman Marybeth Thorsgaard. "Consumers wanted less sugar, so we gave them less sugar. Our packaging is clearly labeled with nutritional information that complies."

Post spokeswoman Abbe Serphos said the lower-sugar version of Fruity Pebbles was "part of the evolution of the product," noting that some consumers prefer reduced sugar. Post is looking to see if there are ways to add additional nutrients such as whole grain and fiber.

Kellogg declined to comment.