A study from the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging has found that the vast majority of cheese products on the market, including macaroni and cheese, contain questionable chemicals, WBTW reports.
The chemicals in question are called phthalates, and they are commonly used in soaps, rubbers, inks and adhesives. The chemicals are not ingredients in macaroni and cheese. Rather, they find their way into the food during the production process, which can involve plastic tubing, rubber gloves, and other sources, said WBTW.
The Coalition looked at 30 cheese products including natural cheeses like string cheese and cheese blocks, processed cheeses like cheese sauce and Kraft singles, and cheese powders of the kind used in mac and cheese. Of the products tested, 29 out of 30 contained phthalates, according to WBTW. Processed cheese products contained more of the chemical than natural cheeses.
Phthalates are thought to interrupt the body’s hormonal syystem and the phthalate DEHP is a cancer causing agent according to the National Toxicology program, said WBTW. For these reasons the chemical has been banned from children’s products.
The Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging has asked Kraft Heinz to identify where the chemicals are coming from and get rid of them, reports WBTW. Their study has yet to be published in a peer reviewed journal.