Although macaroni and cheese has long been promoted as a popular food for people of all ages, there are concerns about some of the macaroni and cheese products that are available right now.A report by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging has found that several macaroni and cheese products contain chemicals known as phthalates.
The CSFPP posted information on its findings on its Klean Up Kraft website.The site was set up as a means of encouraging Kraft to stop using various potentially dangerous chemicals in a number of its foods.
Such products were tested as these foods are often utilized in many recipes and meals for parents and children.It is often one of the more common forms of exposure to dairy-based products for a number of people, particularly children.
This especially comes as close to two million boxes of this product are sold in a typical day on average.The product is heavily manufactured in a number of forms including in single-serve bowls, many of which come with storage materials and packaging items that contain the chemicals that the study is targeting.
What the Report States
The report tested 30 different varieties of macaroni and cheese products from Kraft and various other companies.Specifically, nine of those products were from Kraft.The report did not state any specifics on the particular products but it did say that Kraft was the primary company being researched in the study.
Phthalates were found in all by one of the 30 products that were tested.In addition, the number of phthalates in cheese powder was about four times higher than what is naturally found in a typical block of cheese.
The Flemish Institute for Technological Research in Belgium operated tests for the organization.Phthalates were measured in the fats extracted from the products.It was found that the number of phthalates in cheese powders were greater than what was found in other products.
In the 15 natural cheese products that were tested, there was an average of 216 parts per billion or ppb of phthalates.There was one cheese product that had less than 55 ppb, the highest limit that can be utilized to state that a product does not contain this chemical.
Five processed cheese slice products were tested with an average phthalate total of 569 ppb.The measurements ranged from 180 to 1,223 ppb.
The ten cheese powder mixes that were tested were ones used for macaroni and cheese products.The average total amount of phthalates involved was at 940 ppb.The lowest total was 365 ppb while some products had as many as 2,523 ppb.
Do Companies Intentionally Add Them?
In many cases companies who make macaroni and cheese products do not add phthalates to their foods on purpose.The CSFPP stated that a vast majority of phthalates in these products come from the packaging materials used to prepare such foods.
These packaging materials include a number of plastic and processed paper compounds.These include such chemicals used to preserve foods and to keep them from spoiling.However, there has been an increase in the number of concerns surrounding phthalates as these can end up spreading into many foods.This is especially the case with some of the more convenient single-serve packages that use more materials to secure foods and to keep them fresh.
The Risk of Phthalates
Phthalates have been found to be dangerous to people who consume them.These are prominently used to help with supporting how certain foods are preserved.These include foods that have a number of natural fats.Plastics used to store various foods can also cause phthalates to spread into the foods.
Phthalates are especially harmful to pregnant women and children.Exposure to such chemicals can result in the improper development of the nervous and reproductive systems.A Consumer Product Safety Commission report states that about 725,000 American women who are of a childbearing age are at risk of regular exposure to these chemicals on a daily basis.They are especially exposed to them from the foods that they eat.
These chemicals can cause genital defects in many newborn children.They can also contribute to learning difficulties in some children as it becomes harder for brain development functions to work as well as needed.
Phthalates have been banned from use in many toys for children, particularly teething toys.People have also started to use glass containers and other materials that do not contain such chemicals in feeding bottles.
The risks of phthalates have especially been critical and concerning for parents and young children.Kraft and other companies that were targeted in this study on phthalates in macaroni and cheese products have not responded to recent findings.Even with this, the study could be considered a major wakeup call to parents looking for foods for them and their children.