It’s now been more than three months since the “Kids Eat Right” Kraft Singles hit the grocery shelves. In March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) angered both parents and health professionals when they announced the cheese product would gain the organization’s nutrition seal. As reported in the New York Times:
“Kraft Singles, those individually wrapped slices of processed cheese that have long been a staple of school lunches, are the first product to earn a nutrition seal from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the trade group representing 75,000 registered dietitians and other nutrition professionals.”
This decision was skewered repeatedly in the news and AND’s already damaged reputation took another serious beating. As comedian Jon Stewart put it, AND “is as much an Academy as [Kraft Singles] is cheese.” Shortly thereafter, a group of registered dietitians (RDs) started a #RepealTheSeal petition asking for the following:
“We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.”
In response, AND sent an email to their members which said:
“The academy and Kraft are in discussions to terminate the contract for our pilot program. This will take a short period of time to complete.”
This announcement worked to quiet the media storm and pacify the RDs, yet there has never been any confirmation that the contract was actually terminated. None of the other requests in the #RepealTheSeal petition have been met either. Kraft Singles with the “Kids Eat Right” labels hit the store shelves on April 1st and are still there, as you can see from the recent photo I took at my local grocery store.
I have asked AND and RDs if the contract was ever terminated, but my question was met with silence. While the silence continues about when #RepealTheSeal will be finalized, seeing “Kids Eat Right” Kraft Singles on the grocery store shelves for over three months now speaks volumes. The initial outcry worked to bring attention to how inappropriate it was for AND to partner with Kraft this way, but without continued follow-up, the public is once again left hanging as the experts fail us.