Mac and cheese powder may pose serious health threat, study says

Henrietta Brewer
July 18, 2017

"Phthalates tend to be found at higher levels in highly processed or fatty foods." noted the report as stated on Kleanupkraft's webpage.

According to the National Institutes of Health, these chemicals are believed to be endocrine disruptors, able to interfere with the body's hormonal system. The New York Times reports that a petition from food safety groups to remove all phthalates from USA food, food packaging and food manufacturing equipment, however, was stalled by the FDA on a technicality.

High concentrations of a harmful industrial chemical called phthalates were found in multiple brands of macaroni and cheese mixes made with powdered cheese, according to The New York Times. Phthalates have been linked to a host of health problems, from thyroid disease to interference with fetal development.


The study was funded by four advocacy groups, including the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the Ecology Center, Healthy Babies Bright Futures, and Safer States. They are easily absorbed by fat cells, moving from plastics into food, and food into people.

Phthalates (pronounced "thallets") are petrochemical-derived chemicals that are typically added to plastics to soften them and make them more pliable. Adult women have the highest levels of phthalate metabolites in their systems, largely credited to body washes, cosmetics and other personal care products.

The study, conducted by The Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging, analyzed 30 different types of cheese products, including natural items like block or string cheese, as well as processed products such as the cheese powder that comes in boxed macaroni and cheese. Kraft has agreed to review the test results. If this is indeed the case, the entire CPG and food processing industry - not just makers of macaroni and cheese - have a big problem on their hands.


I've been jokingly telling clients for years that phthalates and other chemicals are derived from petrochemicals that can not be used in powering our vehicles.

"We do not add phthalates to our products", Kraft spokesperson Lynne Galia said in an emailed statement. They have been previously banned from children's toys and teething rings. But that is little protection for pregnant women.

You might already know that you shouldn't put plastic in the microwave because it can release phthalates into you foods. Nine were Kraft Heinz products. However, it's still unknown how low levels of the chemicals can affect someone.


Not only have phthalates been shown to reduce testosterone production and alter thyroid function, but studies have also found they can increase the risk of diabetes by as much as 30%.

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