It’s comfort food to the nth degree; nothing about taking a plate of noodles and slathering it with untold amounts of cheese or cheese product is done for a health benefit. This distinction as unhealthy has a line and for some consumers, today’s announcement concerning pre-boxed Macaroni and Cheese with powdered cheese product crosses it into the do-not-buy category. A study by several groups including the Environmental Health Strategy Center has found that the pre-boxed stuff including everybody from well-known brands such as Kraft to organic brands

A study by several groups, including the Environmental Health Strategy Center, has found that the pre-boxed Macaroni and cheese, including those from well-known brands such as Kraft to organic brands, contain high amounts of Phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals used to makes plastics more flexible, transparent, and long lasting which sounds pretty useful in manufacturing but not particularly appetizing or edible.

Making this particular kind of chemical even scarier for lovers of the blue box brand (and any other pre-boxed brand as stressed by Mike Belliveau of the EHSC),  is the fact that this class of chemicals was banned from certain kinds of young children’s toys back in 2008 with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The reason for the ban is if ingested, Phthalates can potentially cause disruption of male hormones, genital birth defects, and some other issues for older children including neurological issues. The chemicals are also suspected as best to be avoided by pregnant women.

A petition to ban the potentially deadly chemicals has been presented to the Food and Drug Administration but the only response that the FDA has offered so far is that the organization “continues to monitor literature and research on these compounds as it becomes available”.

One important note is that  Phthalates are not ingredients in the packaged macaroni and cheeses. The chemicals get into the cheese products during the process of packaging.

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