Fact Check: Crystals Found In Some 'Lunchables' Nacho Cheese Dip Are NOT Glass Shards But Phosphate Crystals, Company Says

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Crystals Found In Some 'Lunchables' Nacho Cheese Dip Are NOT Glass Shards But Phosphate Crystals, Company Says Harmless

Does the nacho cheese dip in Lunchables "Nachos Cheese Dip & Salsa" contain shards of glass? No, that's not true: The crystals have been widely reported by consumers -- but they are not glass. The crystals may form from one of the regular ingredients in the snack food under certain conditions. A Kraft Heinz spokesman acknowledged in a statement that the crystals are not a part of the cheese dip's desired texture but said they are not harmful to eat. The company offered a phone number to report problems and receive a refund.

There have been social media reports going back more than a year about unidentified crunchy glass-like or salt-like crystals found in the nacho cheese of this Lunchables variety. A video was posted on TikTok on November 3, 2021, by one concerned mother. Viral sharing of a January 23, 2023, post on Facebook caught the attention of many people and appears to have resulted in many more people also discovering and posting about the crystals in the Lunchables they had on hand. The post opened:

i went to harps in mansfield today and bought some lunchables to take to work this week. Annie was up a little later than normal and told me she was hungry so i grabbed one out of the fridge and we were sharing it. i noticed that there was something hard in the cheese so i grabbed a spoon and started looking into it. i didn't think much of it at first so i threw that one away and grabbed a different one. low and behold same thing. i started googling a little bit and there has been multiple cases of people finding shards of glass in the cheese of their lunchables. i took them all out of the fridge and dug through all the cheese compartments and they were all full of glass. thankfully annie hadn't eaten any of it yet. make sure to check your kiddos lunchables from now on!
ETA: this is not a shot at harps. i know they don't package these in store. i was just putting it on there so no one else went down there and had the same experience

This is how the post appeared on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Image source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jan ‎25 ‎2023, ‏‎17:49:55 2023 UTC)

The screenshot below shows Facebook search results of a search for 2023 photos and the phrase "lunchables nacho cheese": search.jpg

(Image source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jan 27 22:44:40 2023 UTC)

Many of these photos show the glass-like crystals on people's fingers or displayed on a contrasting surface. Some people who posted declared that the crystals were shards of glass, but not all did. Some people concluded, after seeing the crystals dissolve in hot water, that it was some type of salt. One woman wrote in a January 24, 2023, Facebook post:

Saw these posts about glass in the nacho cheese of the nacho lunchables so I decided to check the one we had in our fridge. I put all the cheese on a plate and saw lumps and touched them and they were hard and sharp. I started getting kinda worried because like, what.... I've been letting my kids eat these. I went to rinse all the cheese off to further investigate 🧐 & while the hot water was running over my fingers the rocks disintegrated. LOL it's just chunks of salt (sodium phosphate) 🤣 & take a peep at that sodium content on the back 👀😅
Always do your research before scaring the world with your theories! There is no glass in the nacho cheese y'all 👍🏼😮‍💨😊
Don't worry #lunchables, I got y'all 🤣

Lead Stories reached out to Kraft Heinz, and received an email with this statement from a Kraft Heinz spokesperson on January 27, 2023:

Our Quality team believes these reports relate to salt-like phosphate crystals that present no safety issue. In rare occasions, certain ingredients used in Nacho Cheese Dip can form crystals. A loss of moisture or extreme temperatures can cause the crystals, similar to how ice crystals or freezer burn can occur in frozen foods. While there is nothing wrong with eating the product and they won't cause anyone to become ill, they can create an unappealing texture. We apologize to anybody who experienced these crystals as we never want people to have a bad experience with our products. Consumers who see crystals should contact Kraft Heinz at Contact Lunchables or 1-800-222-2323 so we can investigate and provide a refund. We have also quickly taken actions to prevent further occurrences.

Lead Stories also reached out to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration and will update this article if appropriate.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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