Researchers tested different cheese products and found that all 10 varieties of macaroni and cheese included in the study had high levels of phthalates, even those labeled as organic. "Phthalates can migrate into food products during processing, packaging, and preparation".
As per a recent study conducted by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging, 29 out of 30 cheese products were found to have traces of phthalates with natural cheese products recording the least and processed cheese items containing highest amount of phthalates. "Phthalates tend to be found at higher levels in highly processed or fatty foods." noted the report as stated on Kleanupkraft's webpage. Cheese products were tested for phthalate content as dairy products have been tied to being one of the greatest sources of direct exposure to phthalates (DEHP) in young children and women.
A new study found high concentrations of potentially unsafe chemicals known as phthalates in the macaroni and cheese powder.
When looking at the fat alone, the powdered cheese mix had a concentration of phthalates more than 4 times that of the natural cheeses, and more than 1.5 times the amount in processed cheeses. Past research has indicated some types have been shown to affect the reproductive system of laboratory animals, but "more research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report which is available online says that "Cheese powder generally had higher levels of phthalate than cheese slices". When asked about the report, Kraft Heinz told CNN, "We do not add phthalates to our products". She said that while the chemicals can quickly leave our body - taking as little as several hours, sometimes - the concern is the constant exposure we have to them from plastics to food, which can be particularly concerning for pregnant women.