Harmful Chemicals Found in Mac and Cheese Powder

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 17, 2017

Researchers tested different cheese products and found that all 10 varieties of macaroni and cheese included in the study had high levels of phthalates, even those labeled as organic.

According to Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Megan McSeveney, for a phthalate to be used in food packaging, "there must be sufficient scientific information to demonstrate the substance is safe under the intended conditions of use".

It's not listed on the ingredient list, but a new analysis published this week found high concentrations of the chemicals known as phthalates in the cheese powder of macaroni and cheese.

The analysis done by the the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging - the group behind KleanUpKraft.org and a consortium of environmental health advocacy groups - revealed phthalate levels were more than four times higher in macaroni and cheese powder. Cheese products were tested for phthalate content as dairy products have been tied to being one of the greatest sources of direct exposure to phthalates (DEHP) in young children and women.

When looking at the fat alone, the powdered cheese mix had a concentration of phthalates more than 4 times that of the natural cheeses, and more than 1.5 times the amount in processed cheeses. The exact effects of being exposed to low levels of this toxin have altered lab animals' reproductive systems and had gender bending effects. A 2014 report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned of their health effects, especially in children and pregnant women.

However, despite small amounts being detected in the products, a spokesperson for the Kraft Heinz Company assures the products are safe and no phthalates are added. It says more research is needed to assess how phthalates impacts human health. The presence of such chemicals in the body was attributed to consuming food items packed in plastic.

Kraft, one of the most popular mac and cheese brands, denies using the chemical.

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