Powdered mac and cheese, like Kraft, may contain toxic chemicals

Henrietta Brewer
July 14, 2017

The campaign petition stated: "Most people don't know that some of Kraft's cheese products may contain toxic chemicals called phthalates". Phthalates can disrupt male testosterone, have been linked with genital birth defects as well as learning and behavioral problems.

A new study reported by the New York Times says boxed macaroni and cheese contains high level of chemical phthalates. Nine of the cheese products tested were made by Kraft, the Times article said. The worst offenders were the powdered cheeses from macaroni and cheese items, where levels of the potentially risky chemicals were four times higher than in other processed cheese products.

The organization chose to test cheese products after a 2014 study found that dairy products were the greatest source of dietary exposure to the phthalate DEHP for children and women of reproductive age. But a recent study has found harmful chemicals - banned earlier from babies' teething toys - in powdered cheese, packed macaroni and other cheese products consumed by kids. Now, a dozen national health and food safety groups are calling on Kraft, the Big Cheese of the mac world, to push for industry-wide change to get rid of these toxins.


"Our belief is that it's in every mac "n" cheese product - you can't shop your way out of the problem", Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, one of the four advocacy groups that funded the report, told The New York Times.

INSIDER contacted Kraft for comments but the company did not respond in time for publication.

Phthalates are industrial chemicals that have been widely used since the 1950s to soften plastics that would otherwise be brittle and crack when bent.


A 2014 report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged federal agencies to assess the risks of the chemicals 'with a view to supporting risk management steps'. Regulating their infiltration of our food happens by making sure safer food processing and packaging methods are in place.

Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are often added to plastic or food to increase flexibility.

Although the concentration of phthalates in food may be quite low, measured in parts per billion, they are still present at higher levels than the natural hormones in the body, said Heather B. Patisaul, a professor of biological sciences at the Center for Human Health and the Environment at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In fact, Europe won't allow manufacturers to use certain phthalates in plastic if it comes into contact with fatty foods.


Busy families can say goodbye to the days of easy mac dinners: pregnant women and young children are thought to be the most vulnerable to the effects of phthalate exposure.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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