Consumer Reports recommends banning Lunchables from school menus

Certain foods just get the job done when you find yourself rushing to pack your kids' lunch on your way out the door. But there's one convenient choice a new report says you and your school’s cafeteria menu probably should do without.

"We are urging USDA to remove Lunchables as an option for school kids in for the school lunch program," said Bryan Ronholm, the Director of Food Policy for Consumer Reports.

Lunchables typically include cheese processed meats and crackers and consumer reports found they’re a source of excessive sodium linked to long-term health risks for students.

"Each package the kids are getting at least 30 to 50 percent of their recommended daily sodium intake for just this one item," Ronholm continued.

Researchers found lead, cadmium, or both in Lunchables kits they tested. Turkey and cheddar, along with pepperoni pizza Lunchables are among the highest, nearing 75 percent of California's maximum allowable dose level of lead and almost 50 percent in sodium.

"The presence of those heavy metals could lead to developmental issues and long-term damage to kidneys and certain cancers too," said Ronholm.

In most kits, Consumer Reports also detected a type of chemical found in plastics linked to obesity cancer, and reproductive issues.

"Across the country we’re seeing unfortunate trends in increases in childhood obesity, increases in childhood diabetes associated with obesity, increase in child hypertension at early ages," said Lisa Cohn, Nutrition Director at Park Avenue Nutrition.

Cohn supports Consumer Reports' call to pull Lunchables off the menu but says that's not the only course of action needed to address the problem.

"We need to also have collaborative conversations and results between food industry, nutrition professionals, and parents and children," said Cohn.

The percentages listed in the report are alarming, but they don't exceed federally regulated levels.

'Kraft Heinz, the parent company of Lunchables sent us a statement in part saying: "All of our foods meet strict safety standards that we happily feed to our own families. We are proud of Lunchables and stand by the quality and integrity that goes into making them."

FOX 5 NY will provide the USDA's response as soon as it's made available.