The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
has just issued its first "Kids Eat Right” nutrition label to a thoroughly surprising item: Kraft Singles
. The rubbery sandwich slices are officially called "Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product," so it's no wonder parents and nutrition advocates are up in arms about the choice.
“I am really shocked that this would be the first thing that the academy would choose to endorse,” said Casey Hinds of USHealthyKids.org
Kraft Foods and the academy are both organizations that have faced harsh criticisms in the past for their ideas and approach to nutrition, especially concerning children.
produces many products that target children as consumers, including Macaroni & Cheese, Cheez Whiz, Lunchables, Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs, and Capri-Sun and Kool-Aid beverages. Nutrition advocates such as Hinds contend that these foods are over-processed, full of artificial colors, and contain levels of fat, sodium, and sugar that are unhealthy for children.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a trade group representing 75,000 registered dietitians and other nutrition professionals, has had its ethics brought into question over the possible influence major players in the food industry may have had in their decisions. Corporations such as ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo, and Kellogg often send representatives to academy meetings, where members are shown presentations and given free samples.
Speaking of the academy's endorsement of Kraft Singles, Andy Bellatti of Dietitians for Professional Integrity
stated, “My jaw just hit the floor and my eyebrows just hit the ceiling. You would think an organization that has come under fire for so many years for its relations with food companies might pick something other than a highly processed cheese product for its first endorsement.”
Despite the backlash, representatives for Kraft and the academy stand behind the "Kids Eat Right" label for the Singles product, contending that the Singles supply calcium and vitamin D, nutrients severely lacking in the diets of most children.
Kari Ryan, director of nutrition, science and regulatory affairs at Kraft, is also a member of the academy. Ryan announced that the "Kids Eat Right" label and campaign is just the beginning of a three-year joint effort between the two organizations to improve children's nutrition.
“We saw the synergies in taking our mission and the mission of the academy and making them into one to drive education and awareness around the nutrient needs of children and how to address them," she stated.
So what do you think? Are Kraft Singles a healthy choice for kids, or would they get more nutrition eating the plastic wrappers they come in? Let us know in the comments!
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