Federal regulators are scolding the maker of Cheerios, saying it made inappropriate claims about the popular cereal's ability to lower cholesterol and treat heart disease.

The Food and Drug Administration says in a warning letter to General Mills that language on the Cheerios box suggests the cereal is designed to prevent or treat heart disease. Regulators say that only FDA-approved drugs are allowed to make such claims.

Among other claims, the labeling states: "you can lower your cholesterol 4 percent in six weeks."

General Mills said the health claims on Cheerios have been approved for 12 years and the FDA's complaints deal with how the language appears on the box. The company said in a statement that the science was not in question.