Skip to main content

Boxed mac and cheese contains potentially harmful chemicals, study finds

Out of 30 cheese products tested, 29 contained phthalates.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It's national Mac and Cheese Day on Friday, but if you're a fan of the boxed variety you'll find little reason to celebrate.

That's because a new study has found the presence of chemicals called phthalates in 29 of the 30 cheese products they tested – which included cheese powders, processed cheese and natural cheese.

Phthalates which were banned a decade ago for use in children's toys and child care products but are still used in food packaging. The highest amount of these phthalates were found in the dry-mix mac and cheese boxes that are a staple of American pantries.

The concentration of these phthalates were four times higher in mac and cheese powders than in natural cheeses in block, shredded and string forms.

Ten different varieties of mac and cheese were tested – including some organic ones – and researchers found high levels of phthalates in all of them.

As the New York Times reports, these chemicals get into the food via their packaging and the equipment used in its manufacturing.

The newspaper notes environmental and food safety groups have been petitioning the FDA to remove all phthalates from food, food packaging and food processing and manufacturing equipment, though the petition has been delayed for technical reasons.

As the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) explains, while the full effects of phthalates aren't known, there is enough concern in medical circles to limit their use, as they have been known to cause neurological impairments in unborn children.

Exposure to the chemicals can lead to increased risk of IQ deficits, learning and memory impairment, antisocial behavior, and genital defects in boys.

The report notes that as many as 725,000 American women of childbearing age may be exposed to phthalates at levels that could potentially be harmful to future children.

Next Up

318945683_10161683635994714_4236667683357316937_n

22 dogs taken in by Animal Humane Society from shuttered breeder

The dogs were taken in after a report stated there were too many on a single property.

COVER

Latest on the 2 snowstorms set to impact Minnesota

The first arrives Thursday night into Friday before a bigger system comes next week.

PepperSprayCopMPD

Cop who pepper-sprayed downtown protesters received $150K payout

Samantha Belcourt said she "feared for her life."

Powerball Minnesota lottery

$1 million Powerball prize won in Twin Cities

The winning ticket was sold in Chanhassen for Wednesday's draw.

Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 9.16.18 AM

Animales Barbeque Co. looks to open brick-and-mortar location

The popular food truck has partnered with the owner of Billy Sushi.

Christmas presents

Here are some 2022 holiday shipping deadlines to keep in mind

Most deadlines are a few days before Christmas Eve.

cat

Minneapolis will waive pet adoption fees on Friday

Pet licensing fees still apply to adoptions at the event.

received_5642181912525380

Family who endured car theft ordeal surprised with trip to Universal Orlando

A father rescued his four children after a thief jumped in his car while he was getting something from his trunk.

Related

Boxed mac and cheese contains potentially harmful chemicals, study finds

Out of 30 cheese products tested, 29 contained phthalates.

Study: Here are the foods that are killing us, and the ones that could save us

Read this before opening another bag of chips, or ordering your second burger of the week.

Study: Here are the foods that are killing us, and the ones that could save us

Read this before opening another bag of chips, or ordering your second burger of the week.

Boxes and wrappers your fast food comes in could be bad for you

Chemicals used to repel grease may leach into your food.

Boxes and wrappers your fast food comes in could be bad for you

Chemicals used to repel grease may leach into your food.

It's about time: Cheese may soon become an official symbol of Wisconsin

Wait ... cheese wasn't already Wisconsin's official dairy product?

Downer for cheese lovers as The Lone Grazer is put out to pasture

The creamery has been in northeast Minneapolis' Food Building since 2015.

Downer for cheese lovers as The Lone Grazer is put out to pasture

The creamery has been in northeast Minneapolis' Food Building since 2015.