Corn Flakes and the Phelps Flap : Just Say No

Garbage in, garbage out. Photo by Bill Narum / The Rag Blog.

I support freedom of choice, Kellogg’s doesn’t have to sponsor Phelps and I don’t have to eat their products.

By Bill Narum / The Rag Blog / February 6, 2009

As I was about to open a new box of cereal I bought yesterday it struck me that this cereal was produced by the same company that dropped sponsorship of Michael Phelps over his marijuana smoking photo incident. In good conscience I just could not open the box so I threw it out.

Phelps has not been charged with any crime and possession of less than an once of marijuana in South Carolina is only a misdemeanor offense. I support freedom of choice, they don’t have to sponsor Phelps and I don’t have to eat their products. I tried to find an email address to send a complaint to Kellogg but they do not post any email addresses on their site.

Kellogg’s is bailing on Michael Phelps. This is from The Huffington Post,

Cereal and snack maker Kellogg Co. said it won’t renew its sponsorship contract with Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps because of a photo that showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company said Thursday that Phelps’s behavior _ caught on camera and published Sunday in the British tabloid News of the World _ is “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”
Among those standing by [Phelps], even if they don’t condone his behavior, are Visa Inc., Speedo, luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega and sports beverage PureSport’s maker Human Performance Labs.

Here, from NORML, is the dope, as it were, on South Carolina Drug Laws:

Action: Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana – misdemeanor.

Penalty: Possession of one ounce or less is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $100 – $200 for a first offense. Convictions for a first offense are eligible for conditional discharges.

Conditional release: The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Now, a look at who’s calling the kettle black. David Mackay, president and chief executive of Kellogg Co. is one of those $10 million corporate executives. From a an AP story in San

David Mackay, president and chief executive of Kellogg Co., received compensation valued at about $9.08 million for 2007…

Mackay’s package included a salary of $1.1 million, performance-based pay of $2.13 million and $249,230 in other compensation, according to Kellogg’s proxy statement filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, Mackay received stock options worth an estimated $5.6 million when granted in February 2007.
The company also reported that it granted Mackay stock options initially approved from 1998 through 2002 that Kellogg valued at $1.37 million last year. That figure is not included in this compensation total for 2007, however.
Mackay, 52, took over as Kellogg’s CEO on Dec. 31, 2006. He owns 273,710 shares of company stock and has options for another 1,340,703 shares, for a total beneficial ownership of 1,614,413 shares. Based on Wednesday’s opening price of $50.87 for Kellogg’s stock, his shares and options are worth $82.13 million.

Want to let Kellogg know how you feel? Here’s how:

There are several ways you can make your opinion known to the company.

You can call Kellogg’s main telephone number during east coast business hours, Monday through Friday, at: (269) 961-2000 or toll free at: 1 (800) 962-1413.

You can e-mail Kellogg’s consumer services department by visiting here.

You can contact Kellogg’s media relation department at: 269-961-3799 or via e-mail at

You can e-mail Kellogg’s investor relations department at:

Or finally, you can write the Kellogg Company a letter at:

One Kellogg Square
P.O. Box 3599
Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599

Of course, if you’re going to boycott Kellogg’s, you might want to check this out: Kellogg’s Boycott for Michael Phelps? What You’ll Give up by Brian Childs from

The Rag Blog

This entry was posted in Rag Bloggers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Corn Flakes and the Phelps Flap : Just Say No

  1. …and I bought my box of Kellogg’s corn flakes for the very reason this person threw his out…

    I dislike celebrity endorsements to start with; even more when they become near ‘role models’, and then set poor examples for our young children.

    The law is the law; until it’s changed, abide by it – like it or not.

    It’s not illegal to pay a person for their work – granted,

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Dude! Don’t these flakey Kellogg’s people know that after taking a hot, dry toke of good smoke nothing soothes the throat and supplies much-needed sugar like a bowl of Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Corn Flakes? I mean, like, it’s the Toker’s Choice! Totes! Don’t they remember the drug dealer in “Pulp Fiction?” Now, HE is a role model…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sports sell; scholarship or sensibility, not so much. A man spends nearly every waking hour of his first two decades of life perfecting the athletic skills we reward, perhaps to the detriment of his social & intellectual skills. Kellogg's puts lionized young sportsman's photo on box to sell overprocessed grain. This works until young man's non-athletic acts fall short of (

  4. richard jehn says:

    I shouldn’t, but I feel compelled to make a couple of remarks.

    Tom Allen of CBC2 radio reminded me of the bitter family feud within the Kellogg family generations back. His implication was perhaps something about those who live in glass houses ….

    And besides, I don’t even particularly consider Kellogg’s Corn Flakes to be food. They certainly will never be found on my

  5. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate that you provided a simple way for me to contact with Kellogg and tell them that I will not be purchasing their products. I am glad you put this on the blog. Thanks.

  6. silenceispain says:

    I understand how you feel, and I think that marijuana legislation is an incredible waste of the tax-payers money, and I don’t even smoke. However, you should NEVER throw away perfectly good food. There are PLENTY of people who need it. Not buying it again in the future is perfectly fine, but suggesting, directly or indirectly, that people toss food out of their pantry is just wrong.


  7. Mariann says:

    The root of this issue, I believe, has nothing to do with Michael Phelps, nothing to do with cannabis (my “pet cause”, along with free speech), and certainly nothing to do with the ridiculous concept of professional athletes being “role models” for children. Anonymous #2 above comes pretty close to it. The real issue is Kellogg’s control of their BRAND. Phelps isn’t paid to promote a particular cereal or to be a role model for kids; he’s paid to embody characteristics with which a BRAND wishes to be identified, e.g., youthful, attractive, healthy, successful, and above all, MAINSTREAM. Phelps’ big mistake wasn’t toking at a party, or “disappointing hundreds of thousands of” young swimmers, as alleged by one sports sycophant on some mindless newscast last week, but simply not understanding the terms of his employment. Check out Naomi Klein’s No Logo (New York, Picado, 2000) to really dig how this limits OOUR choices!

    And Happy, Happy, Happy – for such a smart, perceptive person, you disappoint me by clinging to blaming victims of the drug war for not “obeying the law”. Let me ask you a question, OK, in the spirit of fair debate, because I don’t know your personal history enough to know the answer already. But say you’re involved in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s, picketing a segregated movie theater. And suppose the police come along and tell you to move along. Would you move along, or would you sit down on the sidewalk, link arms with your friends, and sing, “I shall not be moved”?

    For me, and I believe for many others, marijuana offers a form of nonviolent resistance to a society that lies, cheats, and steals the bread out of the mouths of its own young. The so-called “war on drugs”, that I understand has caused many friends and family members of yours, and you by extension, incredible grief, pain, and expense, is really a war on people who don’t knuckle under to an unfair society, or unjust laws. We sure could use you on the side of the resistance!

  8. I was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. My grandmother worked at the Percy-Jones hospital there. My grand-father and many neighboring farms, produced thousands of acres of corn that was selected by the Kellogg company back in the early 1900’s; and right up until many of the farmers chose to sell their land to new industry; retire, and join the factories.

    One of Kellogg’s requirements was NO PESTICIDES or any kind of ARTIFICIAL fertilizers could be used on the corn they chose for their cereal products. I admired them for this; my grandfather for being one of the earliest people to agree with that philosophy.

    In early elementary school, we toured the Kellogg factory (among others in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo areas). It was the cleanest place; happy people – my aunt worked for them as did many of the women in the area who also were paid a fine wage; excellent retirement and fully-paid health care.

    My aunt was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease when she was 37; she lived at the Battle Creek Sanitarium until she died at age 60. This sanitarium was founded by the Kellogg family. It has served the community for decades; all of us hold great confidence and pride in this facility.

    I took the time to read more about the Kellogg family; I’m putting a little bit of what is on the web here, so you can see that the family (early, at least) had very strict thoughts about morality; the kinds of food a person should eat, etc.

    I admit, I don’t agree 100% with the Kellogg family philosophy, but I’m guessing in keeping with that century-old (and more) concept, they felt they had to continue to keep their image clear of anything they felt would reduce the integrity they put into their products, and how they would be perceived by their loyal customers.

    I confess, I don’t eat their cereal products anymore; however, I do buy their flakes for the birds and small wild critters in our area. I mix sunflower seed; thistle, and other seeds the birds like with cornflakes (the chipmunks love them).

    Strangely, I hear local people cuss out those who feed our wild animals; who feed the birds they don’t want around, but until the power that some people call ‘god’ strikes them all dead, I’ll continue to feed them during the hard weather times when it’s hard for them to find food in this desert.

    In any case, here’s a portion of the history that might help any reader understand the code of ethics the Kellogg family adhered to. Again, I think some of their thinking is a bit too harsh and even discriminating (and erroneous), but it is what drives their corporation; apparently share-holders aren’t as interested in their family history and its beliefs, as they are in just earning a decent profit from their investment.

    Where I vehemently disagree with Kellogg is their sexual philosophy and segregation. His ‘take’ on segregation is (my opinion) nothing short of Hitler’s beliefs.

    But, since I believe there is good in all of mankind; also does ignorance and fear as well as old-age rituals and traditions should never become gospel; the art of learning and growing in our thinking and perceptions should forever be a result of what is learned through research; experience, and tolerance to the degree we do not jeopardize the well-being the the majority for the whims and actions of a minority who don’t trust the person with authority; who challenge the authority just for the sake of confrontation.

    So, without writing a full ‘book’ and getting into a discussion that I’ve had hundreds of times (face-to-face), I thought it best to end my input and let the ‘history of record’ provide at least some insight, as to the founders of Kellogg’s are recorded in a myriad of encyclopedias and publications.

    John Harvey Kellogg was a Seventh-day Adventist until mid-life and gained fame while operating the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which he ran on the church’s health principles.

    Adventists believe in a vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco and a regimen of exercise, which Kellogg followed, among other things.

    He is remembered as an advocate of vegetarianism[3] and wrote in favor of it, including after leaving the Adventists.[4] His dietary advice in the late 19th Century, which was in part concerned with reducing sexual stimulation, discouraged meat-eating, but not emphatically so.[5]

    Kellogg was an especially strong proponent of nuts, which he believed would save mankind in the face of decreasing food supply. Though mainly renowned nowadays for his development of corn flakes, Kellogg also patented a process for making peanut butter and invented healthful, “granose biscuits.”

    At the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Kellogg held classes on food preparation for homemakers. Sanitarium visitors engaged in breathing exercises and mealtime marches to promote proper digestion of food throughout the day. Because Kellogg was a staunch supporter of phototherapy, the sanitarium also made use of artificial sunbaths.[citation needed]

    Kellogg made sure that the bowel of each and every patient was plied with water, from above and below. His favorite device was an enema machine that could rapidly instill several gallons of water in a series of enemas. Every water enema was followed by a pint of yogurt — half was eaten, the other half was administered by enema, “thus planting the protective germs where they are most needed and may render most effective service.” The yogurt served to replace the intestinal flora of the bowel, creating what Kellogg claimed was a squeaky-clean intestine.[citation needed]

    Kellogg believed that most disease is alleviated by a change in intestinal flora; that bacteria in the intestines can either help or hinder the body; that pathogenic bacteria produce toxins during the digestion of protein that poison the blood; that a poor diet favors harmful bacteria that can then infect other tissues in the body; that the intestinal flora is changed by diet and is generally changed for the better by a well-balanced vegetarian diet favoring low-protein, laxative and high-fiber foods; and that this natural change in flora could be sped by enemas seeded with favorable bacteria, or by various regimens of specific foods designed to heal specific ailments.

    Kellogg was a skilled surgeon, who often donated his services to indigent patients at his clinic.[6]

    Although against any unnecessary use of surgery to cure diseases,[7][8][dead link] he did advocate circumcision.

    [edit] Disagreements with Adventist leaders
    In the early 1900s, Kellogg published The Living Temple, a book whose sale was intended to raise funds for the sanitarium. Several Adventist leaders, including A.G. Daniells and Ellen G. White, concluded that the book was pantheistic in its portrayal of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit.

    The theological disagreement led to a break, and in 1907, Kellogg took himself and the sanitarium out of the denomination, although regular Adventist services were kept in the sanitarium’s chapel until the sanitarium was sold to the government.

    [edit] Breakfast cereals
    John Kellogg and his brother Will Keith Kellogg started the Sanitas Food Company to produce their whole grain cereals around 1897, a time when the standard breakfast for the wealthy was eggs and meat, while the poor ate porridge, farina, gruel, and other boiled grains. John and Will later argued over the recipe for the cereals (Will wanted to add sugar to the flakes). So in 1906, Will started his own company, the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, which eventually became the Kellogg Company, triggering a decades-long feud. John then formed the Battle Creek Food Company to develop and market soy products.

    The Kelloggs did not invent the concept of the dry breakfast cereal. That honor belongs to Dr. James Caleb Jackson, who created the first dry breakfast cereal in 1863, which he called, “Granula.” A patient of John’s, Charles William Post, would eventually start his own dry cereal company selling a rival brand of corn flakes. Dr. Kellogg later would claim that Charles Post stole the formula for corn flakes from his safe in the Sanitarium office.

    [edit] Views on sexuality
    As an advocate of sexual abstinence, Kellogg devoted large amounts of his educational and medical work to discouraging sexual activity, on the basis of dangers both real – as in sexually transmissible diseases – and purported.[clarification needed] He set out his views on such matters in one of his larger books, published in various editions around the turn of the century under the title Plain Facts about Sexual Life and later Plain Facts for Old and Young.[5] Some of his work on diet was influenced by his belief that a plain and healthy diet, with only two meals a day, among other things, would reduce sexual feelings. Those experiencing temptation were to avoid stimulating food and drinks, and eat very little meat, if any. Kellogg also advocated hydrotherapy and stressed the importance of keeping the colon clean through yogurt enemas.[9][10]

    [edit] “Warfare with passion”
    He warned that many types of sexual activity, including many “excesses” that couples could be guilty of within marriage, were against nature, and therefore, extremely unhealthy. He drew on the warnings of William Acton and expressed support for the work of Anthony Comstock. He appears to have gone beyond his own advice, since though he and his wife were married for over 40 years, they never had sexual intercourse and had separate bedrooms all their lives. It has been suggested he worked on Plain Facts on their honeymoon.[11]

    He was an especially zealous campaigner against masturbation; this was an orthodox view during his lifetime, especially the earlier part. Kellogg was able to draw upon many medical sources who made claims such as that “neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism,” credited to one Dr. Adam Clarke.

    Kellogg strongly warned against the habit in his own words, claiming of masturbation-related deaths “such a victim literally dies by his own hand,” among other condemnations.

    He felt that masturbation destroyed not only physical and mental health, but the moral health of individuals as well.

    Kellogg also believed the practice of “solitary-vice” caused cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility – “dimness of vision” was only briefly mentioned.

    [edit] Drastic measures
    Kellogg worked on the rehabilitation of masturbators, often employing extreme measures, even mutilation, on both sexes. In his Plain Facts for Old and Young,[5] he wrote

    “ A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. ”


    “ In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid [phenol] to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement. ”

    He also recommended, to prevent children from this “solitary vice”, bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages, sewing the foreskin shut and electrical shock.[5]

    [edit] Later life
    Kellogg would live for over sixty years after writing Plain Facts. Whether he continued to teach the “facts” in it is not entirely clear, although it appears from the later books he wrote that he moved away from this subject matter. One source, taking a positive view of his nutritional and anti-smoking work, suggests he “dropped his obsession with the evils of sex” around 1920,[12] which would be consistent with the last edition of Plain Facts being apparently published in 1917,[13] but another, highly critical source maintains he, “never retracted his claims.”[14] He did continue to work on healthy eating advice and run the sanitarium, although this was hit by the Great Depression and had to be sold.

    He ran another institute in Florida, which was popular throughout the rest of his life,[15] although it was a distinct step down from his Battle Creek institute.[16][17]

    [edit] Race Betterment Foundation
    Kellogg was outspoken on his beliefs on race and segregation, in spite of the fact that he himself adopted a number of black children.

    In 1906, Kellogg founded—together with Irving Fisher and Charles Davenport—the Race Betterment Foundation, which became a major center of the new eugenics movement in America.

    Kellogg was in favor of racial segregation and believed that immigrants and non-whites would damage the gene pool.

    Also, Kellogg gave a large portion of the common stock of the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company to the Race Betterment Foundation. Whether any of that stock has been converted into Kellogg Company stock is unknown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *