Kraft Singles – the individual slices of processed cheese wrapped in plastic – have become the first product to earn a new nutrition “seal” from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy is a professional trade group that represents some 75,000 registered dietitians and nutrition professionals
The academy’s new “Kids Eat Right” label will tacitly lend the group’s approval to various food products targeted to children, although the academy insists it’s not an endorsement. Securing permission to use the seal is regarded as a coup for Kraft; their collaboration with the academy will last for at least three years. The nutritional issue the collaborative effort hopes to address is inadequate calcium intake by both boys and girls. There’s a rub, however: in 2003, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Kraft to stop referring to the cheese product as “food” because the company was not using milk to make it.
The decision to put a nutrition seal on the product has created controversy. Stephanie Strom (@ssstrom) writes for the New York Times Well blog:
Andy Bellatti is the founder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, an organization for disenchanted academy members. “My jaw just hit the floor and my eyebrow just hit the ceiling,” he said about the academy’s decision to endorse Singles. “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.”