This seemingly harmless food choice (and I use the word food here quite loosely as it barely resembles food) may be a lot more harmful than you might think, according to new independent laboratory research conducted by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging.
"If you asked most scientists about the top 10 or 20 endocrine-disrupting chemicals they worry about, phthalates would be on that list", Heather B. Patisaul, a professor of biological sciences at the Center for Human Health and the Environment at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, told the New York Times. According to The New York Times reports, the group tested 30 cheese products, and found phthalates - which have been linked to genital birth defects in baby boys and behavior problems in older kids - in 29 of them, including shredded cheese and string cheese.
The study noted that phthalates are not intentionally added to food, but can accidentally migrate to food during packaging, processing, and preparation.
Findings revealed • Phthalates in almost every cheese product tested (29 of 30 items tested), with 10 different phthalates identified and up to six found in a single product • Phthalates in eight of the nine Kraft cheese product items tested • Toxic chemical phthalates at levels on an average more than four times higher, on a fat basis, in macaroni and cheese powder than in hard cheese blocks and other natural cheese • DEHP, the most widely-banned phthalate around the world, in all 10 macaroni and cheese powders.
But exactly how much of the chemical do you need to consume before it becomes a threat to you?
That does not mean phthalates aren't unsafe. They pose a risk to pregnant women and young children.
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But he said he hasn't heard from them since then, and police told him that the calls came from an untraceable "burner" phone. Whitehead's house was apparently broken into, and Blitz was taken.
But, it's clear people are eating them.
Read the full story at Business Insider.
The study found that the highly processed cheese powders in boxed mac and cheese mixes, even organic boxed mac and cheese, contained the highest concentrations of these chemicals.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that some phthalates have a direct impact on the reproductive system of animals, they say that "the impact of low level exposure on humans is unknown" and that more research still needs to be done. Just a couple of years ago Kraft Macaroni & Cheese underwent a major reformulation to remove artificial preservatives and synthetic colors, and ostensibly get rid of these kinds of chemicals.
"The good news is that there are safer, affordable alternatives to phthalates", said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign director, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition member.
However, despite small amounts being detected in the products, a spokesperson for the Kraft Heinz Company assures the products are safe and no phthalates are added.