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

Is Boxed Mac And Cheese Healthy? Potentially Harmful Chemicals Identified In Popular Brand, Report Says

Is Boxed Mac And Cheese Healthy? Potentially Harmful Chemicals Identified In Popular Brand, Report Says

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, the group behind KleanUpKraft.org, tested 30 cheese products for phthalates, a group of plastics used to make plastics more flexible.

The mysterious packet of powder that turns boxed pasta into mac and cheese may contain potentially harmful chemicals, according to new research.

Phthalates are commonly found in vinyl flooring, food equipment and packaging, building materials, children's backpacks and lunch boxes, personal care products, and fragrances, according to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

The study noted that phthalates are not intentionally added to food, but can accidentally migrate to food during packaging, processing, and preparation. Some phthalates have been banned from children's toys and products.

"The phthalate concentrations in powder from mac and cheese mixes were more than four times higher than in block cheese and other natural cheeses like shredded cheese, string cheese and cottage cheese", Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, which was one of the funders of the report, told The New York Times.

That does not mean phthalates aren't unsafe. While the United States government assessed the potential harm of phthalates over three years ago, recognizing the threat they pose particularly from exposures in food (among others), the Food and Drug Administration has done nothing to ban their use. French Fries lovers beware: This fast food is not just unhealthy but eating it might kill you too!

Read the full story at Business Insider.

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Even processed cheese slices had three times more phthalates than the products described as natural cheeses, which also had excessive amounts of phthalates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says human health effects from exposure to low levels of the chemicals are unknown, although some phthalates have altered lab animals' reproductive systems.

She added, "Scientists say there are no known safe levels of phthalates for vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and young children".

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging is petitioning Kraft Heinz to identify the source of chemicals and remove them from the food packaging process.

Kraft has been an industry leader on similar issues before, announcing a phase-out of artificial food dyes and preservatives in its macaroni and cheese in 2015, in response to scientific and consumer concerns. Some products had up to 6 different kinds of phthalates present.

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