Chemicals called phthalates, banned from children’s teething rings and rubber duck toys over a decade ago, have just been found in high concentrations in your kid’s favorite meal: macaroni and cheese mixes made with powdered cheese (even some that were labeled organic!).
Phthalates are known disruptors of hormones and they have been linked to birth defects and learning and behavior problems in older children. Based upon the staggering amount of data, most scientists agree that phthalates are on the list of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that they are most concerned about.
How did these nasty chemicals get into the millions of boxes that are sold annually? Well, two ways really… One, they are thought to migrate into the food via the packaging (printed labels or plastic in the packaging) and the equipment used in their manufacturing (plastic tubing, conveyor belts, gaskets).
And two, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has NEVER banned phthalates from food even though they KNEW via a 2014 report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, that the main source of exposure was not from toys but from foods, drugs and beverages!
The study of 30 cheese products found phthalates in over 97% of the samples with the highest concentrations (not surprisingly) in the most highly processed products–the boxed mac and cheese products that contain cheese powder.
Eleven environmental and food safety groups have petitioned the FDA asked them to require that phthalates be banned from all food and its’ packaging and from any equipment related to processing food and its manufacturing equipment. The latest information from Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director for the Environmental Defense Fund (the EDF is the organizer of the petition), is that the petition has been delayed temporarily for “technical” reasons.
It seems that once again, our governmental agencies are protecting companies and their profits before protecting our people.
Watch this report from CBS News on this serious concern (the reporting on mac and cheese starts at 0.50 seconds):
What can you do about this? Please consider signing the petition at #KleanUpKraft.org! And, despite the convenience, for now, it probably best to make your own mac and cheese from scratch at home.
- The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese, The New York Times, July 12, 2017
- 2014 Report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission , The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission , July 2014
- Organic Consumers Association
- Photo credit: FoodyHeads
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