Mexican Agents Raid 75 Outlets to Seize 380,000 Boxes of Kellogg's Cereal

Mexican agents carried out a raid in 75 different sales outlets and seized 380,000 boxes of Kellogg's cereal to enforce its recent law banning cartoons and mascots from food packaging.

The Associated Press reported most of the cereal boxes the agents seized came from a warehouse north of Mexico City. The Mexican consumer protection agency told the news outlet Friday the boxes did not clearly provide nutritional information such as carbohydrate and calorie content.

In the AP report, the agency also said there were no "proper warning signs" for levels of unhealthy ingredients it considered "excessive."

Kellogg's cereals such as Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes generally have high sugar content, which has prompted the Mexican government to try to discourage their consumption.

Studies have found that using child-friendly cartoon characters such as Froot Loops' "Toucan Sam" or Rice Krispies' "Snap, Crackle and Pop" has made these food products more recognizable and desirable.

The U.S. Center for Biotechnology Information, a branch of the National Library of Medicine, said in a 2014 study that "children develop 'parasocial relationships' with favorite characters, representing emotionally infused friendships based on characters' attractiveness and the messages they convey that can influence their diet-related outcomes."

Remezcla reported the Mexico law banning the cartoon mascots on food packages was first passed in 2018 but just recently went into effect.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's most recent obesity update in 2017 said Mexico has the third-highest adult obesity rate in the world, trailing the United States and Chile.

According to Remezcla, the World Health Organization also reported the country has the highest level of overweight and obese children in the world.

Mexico's effort to reduce obesity rates could also be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as obesity is an additional risk factor for developing complications if one catches the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported obesity can triple the risk of hospitalization from COVID.

In a 2020 statement, the OECD called Mexico's rate of obesity "one of the most worrying cases." It said 73 percent of the Mexican population is overweight, while 34 percent could be categorized as morbidly obese.

It also added the country's childhood obesity rate doubled in 20 years, going from 7.5 percent in 1996 to 15 percent in 2016.

According to Reuters data, Mexico's COVID-19 cases are at peak and rising, with a current daily average of over 28,000 infections. Globally, the country has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates, falling behind only India, Brazil, Russia and the U.S.

Kellogg, cereal boxes
Mexican agents have seized hundreds of thousands of Kellogg's cereal boxes after a ban on cartoon characters on food packaging. Above, boxes of Kellogg's cereals including Froot Loops, Cocoa Krispies and Raisin Bran are seen at a store in Arlington, Virginia, December 1, 2016. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images