Kellogg has announced new restrictions on food marketed to children. It promises that ads with audiences consisting mostly of kids under 12 will be limited to products that meet certain nutritional criteria: no trans fat and no more than 200 calories, two grams of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of salt, and 12 grams of sugar per serving. (Kellogg also will use licensed characters such as Shrek only for products that meet this test.) Since Frosted Flakes makes the cut, the new limits don't seem very demanding. Kellogg may have to reformulate Shrek cereal (too much sugar), Cocoa Krispies (ditto), and regular Rice Krispies (too much salt). But the company is making an Eggo-ception for its toaster waffles, which apparently cannot be made palatable at less than 250 milligrams of salt per serving. All of Kellogg's cereals seem to be well under the calorie limit, although I guess the new policy would bar ads for something like Rice Krispies Treats (414 calories per serving) on, say, Nickelodeon. It's doubtful that the sugar and salt limits will make any medically relevant difference.
Still, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is happy enough with the new policy that it has stopped threatening to sue Kellogg. I think CSPI can more plausibly take credit for changes at Kellogg than it can for the switch to trans-fat-free frying oil at KFC (which was in the works well before CSPI sued the chain's parent company). But I find it hard to believe this sort of tinkering, even if copied by other companies, will have any noticeable effect on kids' waistlines or health.