Potentially dangerous chemicals found in powdered mac and cheese mixes

A new study by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging found high levels of potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates in the cheese powder of macaroni and cheese.

The study evaluated 30 different cheese products which included natural cheese products as well as processed cheese slices and the cheese powder typically found in boxed macaroni and cheese products.

According to the study, evidence of the chemical was found in 29 of the 30 products tested.

Phthalates are often added to plastic or food to increase flexibility but are not banned by the FDA. Six types of phthalates have been banned in the U.S. as additives to children’s toys, such as rubber duckies.

According to the study, the worst offenders were the powdered cheeses from macaroni and cheese items, where levels of the potentially dangerous chemicals were four times higher than in other processed cheese products.

But exactly how much of the chemical do you need to consume before it becomes a threat to you?

Sheela Sathyanarayana, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle and Seattle Children’s Hospital, told Slate Magazine “we do not know what dose will lead to significant health effects from the current human health research.”

That does not mean phthalates aren’t dangerous. High levels of exposure have been linked to fertility issues for both men and women, as well as behavioral and neurodevelopmental issues in children who are exposed to them in utero.

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.

Read the full story at Business Insider.

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