California Judge Clarifies: Crunchberries Aren’t Real [Inside the Label]

A California judge threw out a lawsuit yesterday filed by a woman who claimed to have been misled by the Quaker Oats Company. Apparently, she had been eating Crunchberries cereal for the past few years, thinking she was getting wholesome crunchberry fruit with each serving.

Although this news flash is deemed a comic relief by most of us, taking a look at what’s inside Crunchberries is more of a Greek tragedy.

What you need to know:

Despite a self awarded “smartspot” nutrition seal, This is not one of the wiser breakfast cereal choices a parent can make.

Nutrition panel: A serving size is 3/4 of a cup or 1 ounce. 27 grams. Maybe for a three year old. for older children and adults that is too small of an amount. But lets pretend, for arguments sake, that it is 27 grams. There are only 100 calories, which is good. There is very little fat, as most of the calories are from carbohydrates. There are 12 grams of sugar – almost 3 teaspoons! Think of it this way – 12 of the 27 grams in a serving are sugar. That is almost half of the product! There is almost no fiber in this cereal, which is a shame because breakfast cereals are a good opportunity to load up. A serving also contains 180 grams or 8% of the daily maximum value for sodium.
Yes, the cereal is fortified with various B vitamins, zinc, and iron, but wouldn’t it be better to get them from real food?

The ingredient list does not bode well -

Corn Flour, Sugar, Oat Flour, Brown Sugar, Coconut Oil, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil**, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Malic Acid, Maltodextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Niacinamide*, Reduced Iron, Zinc Oxide, Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Thiamin Mononitrate*, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride*, BHT (A Preservative), Riboflavin*, Folic Acid*.

*One Of The B Vitamins.

**Adds A Dietarily Insignificant Amount Of Trans Fat

Ingredient glossary:
Sugar, Brown Sugar – appearing as the #2 AND #4 ingredients on the list, you know there’s lots of sweet in here.
Coconut Oil – derived from the meat of the coconut, and is about 90% saturated fat.
Salt – surprising to find salt in a sweet cereal, but the fact is that in most cereals you’ll find salt.
Sodium Citrate – adds a tart flavor.
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil** – We left the “**” intact because alert readers may notice a contradiction on the food label. On the one hand, the product states 0 trans fat. On the other hand, it contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil , which have trans fats. How could this be? A loophole in FDA labeling requirements lets manufacturers round any amount of trans fat down to 0, if there is less than half a gram per serving. The Cap’n and his crew don’t want us to worry though: **Adds A Dietarily Insignificant Amount Of Trans Fat.

We wondered how much trans fat is “insignificant” and contacted Quaker Oats to get an answer. Here is their (prompt) response:

We appreciate the opportunity to answer your question about the amount of trans-fats in Cap’n Crunch Crunchberries cereal. Since nutrients are an approximation, the estimated amount of Trans Fats in this product is 0.25 per serving.
It may interest you to know that Quaker has always offered nutritious products that are low in fat. The bulk of our products has relatively lower levels of trans fats (0.5 to 1 gram) and we’re investigating opportunities to improve these products. Our goal is to continue looking for ways to eliminate or reduce trans fats in all of our products over time.
Thanks for your interest in Cap’n Crunch Crunchberries cereal. I hope this information is helpful.
Quaker Consumer Relations

Insignificant as that may be, it’s not zero. And unlike saturated fats or sodium, which have a daily maximum value, the FDA has not defined a value for trans fat because none should be consumed. Our bodies can’t rightly handle it.

Natural And Artificial Flavors – these are secret, and the Cap’n won’t divulge them.
Strawberry Juice Concentrate – woohoo, we found trace of fruit here after all! But seriously, what concentrate means is that we’re getting just the sugar, without any of the berry nutritional benefits.
Malic Acid (E296) – adds a tart flavor.
Maltodextrin – a carbohydrate made from rice, corn, or potato starch. Used as a thickener or filler in many foods.
Modified Corn Starch – a natural additive, used as a thickener.
Niacinamide – vitamin B3.
Reduced Iron – Iron in its pure metallic form. Think tiny iron fillings. An important nutrient.
Zinc Oxide – zinc is a nutrient.
Yellow 5,  Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 – artificial food colorings that have been linked with tumors, allergic reactions, hyperactivity in children.
Thiamin Mononitrate* – vitamin B1.
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride – vitamin B6.
BHT (E321) – Butylated hydroxytoluene is a food additive used to prevent foods from going rancid. There is some debate over the safety of this product, as some studies have shown it to cause tumors, and others have shown it to reduce the risk of cancer. BHT may be found in the food itself or in the packaging.
Riboflavin – vitamin B2.
Folic Acid – vitamin B9. Helps produce red blood cells and prevent anemia.

What to do at the supermarket:

Look for whole grain cereals, low in sugar (less than 6 grams per serving), and without food colorings.

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