Consumer Reports urges USDA to remove Lunchables From National School Lunch Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Reports called on the Department of Agriculture today to remove Lunchables food kits from the National School Lunch Program. CR recently compared the nutritional profiles of two Lunchable kits served in schools and found they have even higher levels of sodium than the kits consumers can buy in the store. CR also tested 12 store-bought versions of Lunchables and similar kits and found several contained relatively high levels of lead and cadmium. All but one also tested positive for phthalates, chemicals found in plastic that have been linked to reproductive problems, diabetes, and certain cancers.

“Lunchables are not a healthy option for kids and shouldn’t be allowed on the menu as part of the National School Lunch Program,” said Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, which launched a petition to the USDA. “The Lunchables and similar lunch kits we tested contain concerning levels of sodium and harmful chemicals that can lead to serious health problems over time. The USDA should remove Lunchables from the National School Lunch Program and ensure that kids in schools have healthier options.”

The USDA currently allows two Lunchables kits — Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Stackers and Extra Cheesy Pizza — to be served to nearly 30 million children through the National School Lunch Program. To meet the program’s requirements, Kraft Heinz added more whole grains to the crackers and more protein to the Lunchable kits designed for schools compared to store-bought versions.