Due to High Levels of Lead, Consumer Reports Calls for Removing Lunchables From Schools

Source: Lunchables / Flickr

Lunchables and similar pre-packaged lunch kits are a staple for many kids – easy to pack and ready to eat. But are they healthy? According to a new report from Consumer Reports, these convenient lunchtime favorites may contain concerning levels of lead, cadmium, sodium, and other harmful chemicals.

In response, the organization is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove Lunchables and other processed kits from school lunch programs across the country. With millions of students served daily through the National School Lunch Program, this petition urges swapping out these kits for healthier options to protect our children.

Consumer Reports Urges USDA to Remove Lunchables

Consumer Reports is imploring the USDA to eliminate Lunchables and comparable lunch kits from schools. In an April report, the organization found “worrisome levels” of lead, cadmium, and sodium in popular lunch kits.

Source: Amazon

The kits’ sodium content alone ranged from 460 to 740 milligrams per serving—nearly half of a child’s recommended daily limit.

Tests Reveal High Levels of Lead, Cadmium and Sodium

Consumer Reports conducted tests on popular lunch kits like Lunchables and found alarming results. Their study of 12 store-bought lunch kits discovered relatively high amounts of lead, cadmium, and sodium in the meals.

Source: Reddit

Most troubling is that the sodium levels ranged from 460 to 740 milligrams per serving, nearly half of a child’s recommended daily intake.

Harmful Chemicals Pose Health Risks

All but one lunch kit also contained phthalates, chemicals found in plastics that studies show can lead to health issues like reproductive problems, obesity, and cancer over time.

Source: ResearchGate

The lead and cadmium levels, while small, still pose risks, especially for children, whose bodies and brains are still developing.

Phthalates are Also Found in Nearly All Lunchables Tested

Consumer Reports found concerning levels of phthalates in 11 of the 12 lunch kits tested. Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics that, according to the National Institutes of Health, can pose serious health risks, especially to children.

Source: Shutterstock/gotphotos

Because phthalates are not chemically bound to plastics, they easily leach into foods and beverages stored in plastic containers and wrappers.

Health Risks of Lead, Cadmium, and Excess Sodium

The levels of lead and cadmium found in Lunchables and similar lunch kits pose serious health risks, especially to children, according to Consumer Reports.

Source: ScienceDirect

Lead is known to damage the nervous system, slow growth, and cause learning and behavioral problems in children. Cadmium exposure is linked to kidney damage, bone loss, and possibly even cancer.

Kraft Heinz Has Not Responded to Report Findings

As of publication, the company has not issued a public statement addressing the high levels of lead, cadmium, and sodium found in their popular lunch kits.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Kraft Heinz should acknowledge these concerning test results and commit to improving the nutritional quality of Lunchables and similar products,” said Laura MacCleery, policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Calls for Healthier Options

Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, said in a statement, “Lunchables are not a healthy option for kids and shouldn’t be allowed on the menu as part of the National School Lunch Program.

Source: Food Safety News

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.

Lunchables Petition Has 10,000 Signatures

The petition, which has garnered over 10,000 signatures, calls on the USDA to remove processed food kits like Lunchables from school lunches and provide children with healthier choices.

Source: Tastemade

Removing unhealthy options like Lunchables could have a significant impact on children’s health and help address issues like obesity, heart disease, and other diet-related conditions in the future.

Nearly 30 Million Students Rely on National School Lunch Program Daily

Nearly 30 million students in the U.S. depend on the National School Lunch Program for their daily meals. The program provides subsidized or free lunches to students in over 95,000 schools across the country.

Source: UNICEF

According to the School Nutrition Association, 19 million of the meals served daily are free, while 8.5 million are paid in full, and 1.1 million are offered at a reduced price.

Providing Nutrition to Those in Need

The National School Lunch Program aims to provide nutritious and balanced meals to students, especially those from low-income families.

Source: Teenvogue

However, a recent test by Consumer Reports found that popular pre-packaged lunch kits like Lunchables, which are part of the program, contain high amounts of sodium, lead, and cadmium.

How Much Sodium is Too Much for Kids?

Children ages 4 to 8 should get no more than 1,500 to 2,200 mg of sodium per day. For kids 9 to 13, the limit is 2,200 to 2,500 mg.

Source: Shutterstock/Jaromir Urbanek

The high sodium in Lunchables and similar kits contribute excessively to these limits, putting children at risk of high blood pressure and other issues.

If Lunchables Are Banned, How Many Kids Will Be Impacted?

Banning Lunchables and similar pre-packaged lunch kits in schools would impact millions of nationwide students who rely on these lunch options daily.

Source: Retailwire

A ban should be accompanied by resources, education, and affordable healthy options to support a smooth transition for families and schools.

What Are Some Healthy Alternatives for Children?

Children need a variety of healthy foods at school to fuel their growing bodies and minds. Some good alternatives to pre-packaged lunch kits include:


·       Fresh fruits and vegetables

·       Whole grain crackers and breads

·       Hard-boiled eggs

·       Yogurt.

·       Nuts and seeds

·       String cheese

Unhealthy and Expensive Convenience

While providing convenient and affordable options for busy families, Lunchables and similar pre-packaged lunch kits come up short when it comes to nutrition.

Source: Narcity

The USDA must listen to advocates calling for change and make the well-being of students a top priority. There’s no time to lose in giving our children the wholesome lunches they deserve.

What do you think?

200 Points
Upvote Downvote
Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

Leave a Reply


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

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Former Record Holder Lynette Woodard Reverses Course On Caitlin Clark Scoring-Record Dismissal

Fired Professor Condemns School Board’s DEI Mandates After Judge’s Ruling