Toxic chemicals found in boxed mac and cheese

A new study identified allegedly harmful chemicals in Kraft cheese powder. Image courtesy of Flickr user jeepersmedia

Chemicals banned from babies' teething toys are present in macaroni and cheese products, according to a new study.

A major finding of the study was that the concentration of phthalates was "four times higher in macaroni and cheese powder samples than in hard blocks & other natural cheese, in fat", among the products that were tested. In products such as cheese mixes, including the organic ones, the concentration of phthalates was found to be four times higher than the permissible limit.

The gender-bending chemicals have been linked to genital birth defects in infant boys and can affect the development of a baby after just five days in the womb, research suggests.

Executive Director Mike Belliveau says phthalates were detected in all mac 'n cheese powders.

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to ban the chemicals from food, where researchers have found it's most risky to children.

They researchers looked for 13 different types of the chemicals and discovered all but two - and up to six different phthalates were found in some products.

The tried and true box of mac n cheese you feed your kids could be downright unsafe.

In the Times article, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, offered tips for how families can limit exposure, including avoiding processed foods or anything that comes in a box with a long shelf-life, choosing low-fat dairy products and storing food in glass, stainless steel, ceramic or wood containers instead of plastic.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not banned their presence in foods, though a 2014 report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged federal agencies to assess risks "with a view to supporting risk-management steps". And they particularly love to bind to fatty foods, like powdered cheese.

Hormone-disrupting chemicals could be lurking in your kids' mac and cheese, according to a new report. Nine of the cheese products tested were made by Kraft, which makes most of the macaroni-and-cheese products sold, though the group did not disclose the names of specific products tested.

There is strong evidence that phthalates block the production of the hormone testosterone.

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

The can also leak in from printed labels or plastic materials in the packaging. Europe has already gotten rid of many phthalates in food production, so there's hope that maybe with enough recognition of the issue the USA could follow suit.

The FDA is aware of phthalates in our food and considers them to be "indirect food additives".



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