It has been a decade since toxic chemicals called phthalates have been banned from children’s toys. The bad news is that these chemicals have recently been detected again—not in toys children play with but in food that they consume!
Researchers have found traces of phthalates in macaroni and cheese mixes that a lot of people, both children and adults, consume on a regular basis. Phthalates can disrupt hormones and have been connected to birth defects. They were found in high amounts in the powdered cheese common in macaroni and cheese mixes.
Researchers tested 30 cheese products and found phthalates in 29 of them; in powdered cheese, phthalate amounts were four times higher than in other cheese products. The potentially harmful chemicals are used in plastics or packaging ink, so while they’re not intentionally added to food, they can migrate into products via food processing equipment or packaging.