Most Boxed Mac and Cheese Contain Toxic Chemicals, Study Warns

Here is an alarming piece of news for people who frequently long for boxed macaroni and cheese as they are one of the tastiest and simplest foods to eat. But this convenience food may contain toxic chemicals, warns a new study by researchers from an independent lab.

The research conducted by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, the group behind, revealed that most packaged brands of mac and cheese contained harmful chemicals called phthalates, the toxic substances widely used in plastics and many other products.

Today, Phthalates are present in a range of products we use every day. They are used in everything from household cleaners to food packaging, cosmetics, and personal-care products.These dangerous chemical toxins have been shown to interfere with human hormones, and causing a wide-ranging adverse health impacts.

The laboratory researchers tested 30 different mac and cheese products, ranging from cheese powder to processed cheese, as well as hard, shredded, string and cottage cheese. They found extremely high levels of phthalates in 29 of the 30 products examined. Investigators found the highest levels of phthalates in the cheesy powder used to make the sauce for boxed instant macaroni and cheese. These levels were more than double of what found in processed cheese which also contained a very high level of the toxin, and four times more of so-called natural cheeses that had the lowest phthalate levels.

“The phthalate concentrations in powder from mac and cheese mixes were more than four times higher than in block cheese and other natural cheeses like shredded cheese, string cheese and cottage cheese,” Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, which was one of the funders of the testing.

Nine of the products tested by the lab researchers were created by Kraft, the leading maker of mac and cheese products. The company, meanwhile, has assured their products are safe and denied using the toxic chemicals.

“We do not add phthalates to our products,” company spokesperson Lynne Galia said. “The trace amounts that were reported in this limited study are more than 1,000 times lower than levels that scientific authorities have identified as acceptable.”

Commonly referred to as plasticizers, phthalates are commonly used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. They are used in vinyl flooring, raincoats, children’s backpacks and toys, building materials, personal care products, and other plastic goods to make them more flexible and harder to break.

Since phthalates is found in so many products, they aren’t easy to avoid. Still parents can lessen exposure to the toxic chemicals by limiting the use of the boxed products.