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How to Cite a Cereal Box in MLA Format


The third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing provides format and style guidelines for writing. This includes procedures for citing a variety of sources, such as books, articles, lectures, websites and conference presentations. But what if you want to include information from an unusual source, such as a cereal box, in your references? The style manual can help you.

In-Text Citation

In MLA style, it is preferable to obtain information from a traditional source, such as a journal article or website. However, if that is not possible, you can use material from the actual cereal box, and you must include an in-text citation. You can either mention the company's name in the text, such as "According to the Big Cereal Company, their Crunchy Bran Flakes...," or you can list the company name in parentheses after the material, such as: "Crunchy Bran Flakes are more nutritious than..." (Big Cereal Company).

Works Cited Page

Every in-text citation must have a reference included on the Works Cited page. For the cereal box, begin with the company's name (as the author) and follow it with a period. Then, within quotation marks, put the title of the information, the product name and a period. List the state of manufacturing, a period, and the year, if available. End with a period. For example, a Works Cited entry could read:

Big Cereal Company. "Nutrition Label of Crunchy Bran Flakes." New York. 2012.

About the Author

Living in upstate New York, Susan Sherwood is a researcher who has been writing within educational settings for more than 10 years. She has co-authored papers for Horizons Research, Inc. and the Capital Region Science Education Partnership. Sherwood has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University at Albany.

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