Report finds Lunchables contains high levels of lead, sodium

The children’s lunch kit also contained plastic chemicals linked to cancer.

A new report found that Lunchables kits contain relatively high levels of lead and sodium. 

Consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports said Tuesday that the Lunchables kits it tested had high levels of lead, sodium and cadmium, as well as plastic chemicals that are linked to reproductive problems, diabetes and cancer. 


Driving the news: Consumer Reports tested 12 store-bought versions of Lunchables and found high levels of lead and cadmium in them.

  • Cadmium is a chemical element linked to negative effects on the kidney and respiratory systems and is classified as a human carcinogen.
  • Lunchable kits that are served as part of the National School Lunch Program also had higher levels of sodium than the kits that can be bought in stores. 
  • All but one of the kits tested contained harmful phthalates, chemicals found in plastic that can be linked to reproductive issues, diabetes, and some cancers.

What we’re watching: Consumer Reports has started a petition calling on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to remove Lunchables from the school lunch program.

  • The petition to remove Lunchables from the school lunch program has received more than 15,000 signatures by Wednesday.

What they’re saying: “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. “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.”

  • A spokesperson for Lunchables told The Hill that the company has taken great steps to improve the nutrition profile of Lunchables. 
  • “All our foods meet strict safety standards that we happily feed to our own families,” the spokesperson said. “We are proud of Lunchables and stand by the quality and integrity that goes into making them.” 
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