Children who eat fortified cereals and snack bars are at risk for
consuming potentially dangerous levels of niacin, vitamin A, and zinc,
according to a report from the Environmental Working Group.
Upon reviewing nutrition information for over 1500 breakfast cereals
and 1000 snack bars, the EWG found that nearly 115 cereals were
fortified with 30% or more of the adult recommended Daily Value for
niacin, vitamin A, or zinc, and about 30 snack bars were fortified
with 50% or more. Such products include General Mills Total Raisin
Bran, Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies, and Balance Bars.
When children eat these products, they put themselves at risk for
overexposure. Among the potential side effects: excessive niacin can
cause skin reactions, too much vitamin A can lead to liver damage, and
excessive zinc can inhibit immune function.
The EWG calls for the FDA to mandate age-specific Daily Value
information on nutrition labels. In the meantime, the group says
children should consume foods with no more than 20%-25% of the adult
Daily Value for these nutrients per serving.
Environmental Working Group press release