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Kraft Cheese Singles Now Considered A Health Food After Earning 'Kids Eat Right' Label

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It's processed, packaged in plastic, becomes the ideal gooey filling for a grilled cheese, and has been served in kid's lunch boxes for years—plus it's healthy for you!

No, this isn't a joke. Kraft American Cheese Singles are now considered a health food.

Kraft Singles have officially become the first food to get the stamp of approval from nutrition professionals to have the "Kids Eat Right" label, a new initiative from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to help people make healthy food choices.

How could this processed product that is made up of less than 51 percent real cheese make the cut? 

(Photo : forevergrateful/Tumblr)

According to the AND, the "Kids Eat Right" initiative is a "nutritional education campaign to raise awareness that the diets of American's kids are lacking in three important components—dairy, calcium and vitamin D."

Sure Kraft American Cheese Singles contain 20 percent calcium per slice, but that's just about as healthy as this food gets.

First and foremost, Kraft Singles are a processed food product. Kraft has felt the fire from health critics for the high amount of preservatives, fat, sodium, sugar and colorants that are found in their products.

Back in 2003, the Food and Drug Administration required Kraft to change its "pasteurized process cheese food" label on its Singles and Velveeta mac 'n cheese products because they don't contain real milk, but instead milk protein concentrate.

But the reason why Kraft Singles are now labeled an academy "Kids Eat Right" approved product may have more to do with money than nutrition. 

Food industry lawyer Michele Simon reported in 2013 that the AND has strong financial ties with major food companies, including PepsiCo, Kellogg and of course Kraft.

"Kraft is well known as a sponsor of AND," Marion Nestle, professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public heath at NYU writes. "Such seals are usually money-raising gimmicks. I'm wondering if 'proud supporter of' means that Kraft pays AND for use of this seal. If so, I'd like to know what the seal costs."

It's also interesting that Kari Ryan, director for nutrition science and regulatory affairs at Kraft is also a member of the AND.

However, some health professionals have spoken out against the label on the Dietitians for Professional Integrity's Facebook page.

"I'm absolutely disgusted with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics," Allison Duffek Bradfield, RD writes. "They have put the health of our children in jeopardy for money. I am embarrassed to be a part of this organization which clearly has lost its priorities."

Another AND member, Linn Steward writes, "Every time our Academy states its proud sponsorship of another ultra processed food, we lose a little more credibility with the healthy eating crowd."

Having the seal of approval from the organization made up of 75,000 dietitians and nutrition professionals could help Kraft sell more Singles. CEO John Cahill said that last year was a "difficult and disappointing year," so the label could help more parents who are looking for quick but healthy foods pick up the product.

The AND said that the "Kids Eat Right" label is not necessarily an endorsement, but instead adds to the goal of their campaign.

Kraft recently recalled 242,000 cases of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because the 7.25-ounce boxes with the "use by" date between September 18, 2015 to October 11, 2015 and the code "C2" on the bottom may contain metal.

Kraft American Singles were recalled in August because of storage issues.

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Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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