By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Cereal is a breakfast favorite for many children.
“It’s easy. It’s convenient in the morning,” said Jennifer Hsiung, a local mother.
“I usually choose ones that are whole grain, ones that have a lot of vitamins, minerals in them,” said Nancy Adams, a local mother.
But a new report from the Environmental Working Group says nearly half of kids under age eight consume potentially harmful amounts of certain vitamins and minerals from products like over-fortified cereals.
“It can affect the bones. It can affect the hair. It can affect the skin,” explained Olga Naidenko, the co-author of the report.
She analyzed more than 1,500 cereals and found 114 fortified with 30 percent or more of the adult daily value for vitamin A, zinc and niacin.
“Children are getting too much, and over time, long term intakes of nutrients such as vitamin a has been linked to adverse health effects,” said Olga.
The researchers say they found one serving of General Mill’s Total Raisin Bran overexposes children to both niacin and zinc, and that 22 other cereals pose a similar risk.
“I think it’s definitely concerning, disconcerting, about what’s being put in to the cereal,” said Becky Quigley, a local mother.
“A good cereal to buy is the one that has no more than 20 to 25 percent of the adult daily value in the single serving,” said Olga.
General Mills tells CBS 3, “we believe in the value of food fortification to help improve nutrient intakes. General Mills follows food labeling regulations set forth by the FDA, and adheres to FDA’s policy on the safe fortification of food.”
Some groups are calling on the FDA to make label changes, indicating daily values for specific age groups, such as 4-to-8 year olds.
For more information on the report, click here.