According to a new study, macaroni and cheese has the highest concentration of dangerous chemicals and phthalates. The study was commissioned and paid for by the Coalition for Safer Food and Processing and Packaging, which is a coalition of four advocacy groups. These groups are the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the Ecology Center, Safer States, and Healthy Babies Bright Futures. It has not yet been published in a peer review journal and was first detailed in the New York Times.

Mac and cheese has the most phthalates

Over a decade ago phthalates were part of a group of certain chemicals that were banned from being used in children's toys and teething rings.

Now, this new study of thirty different cheese products has found that macaroni and cheese mixes that have powdered cheese contain the highest concentration of these harmful chemicals. It was discovered that the concentration of phthalates in the powdered cheese mix was over four times higher than block cheese or natural cheeses.

Ten different types of mac and cheese, including those labeled organic were tested. All were discovered to have disturbing amounts of phthalates, with nine varieties made by Kraft. The chemical is not directly added to the mac and cheese but is used in plastic packaging softner, ink, and as adhesive in the packaging. It is believed that the chemical gets into the food during the manufacturing process.

The FDA and phthalates

Despite these dangerous chemicals being banned from toys long ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never blocked them from being used in food products.

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Three years ago a report titled, “Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives" was given to the US Consumer Product Saftey Commission (CPSC). It showed that the primary sources of exposure to this chemical were from food, drinks, and drugs. The report also advised the FDA to change their regulations.

What are phthalates?

Phthalates are esters, chemical compounds derived from acid, and are part of the phthalic acid family. They are mostly used in plasticizers, which are added to plastics products to make them more durable, flexible, and transparent. Phthalates are most harmful to male children, as they impact male hormones.

They have been linked to other problems in boys, including genital birth defects, behavior problems, and learning problems. They also affect pregnant women by raising the risk of miscarriage, causing gestational diabetes, and affecting the male fetus that they carry.