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There’s something in your ‘mac and cheese’ meal that you don’t know about


The harmful chemical, banned in the EU, is a danger to US consumers

Lovers of macaroni and cheese meals have cause to be concerned about a possible contamination of the boxed meals. ANTIMEDIA report that testers in a lab in Belgium found traces of a group of chemicals known as phthalates, which are normally used to soften plastics. A food awareness group, The Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, had bought 30 separate cheese products for the scientists to test. Only 1 of the 30 products did not display the chemical.

Worryingly for US consumers, restrictions on the use of the chemicals in question are only limited by comparison to the European Union, who have completely banned phthalates in its entirety. The chemical is found in plastic materials like tubes and pipes (these are used to process the cheese) and the chemical is also found in cheese product packaging. It is believed that the substance simply leeches into the food either during the aforementioned processing and packaging stages.

A greater cause for concern for such an outbreak relates to a 2016 article from the Environment Research journal that claims there are links between phthalate exposure and autism. Another pair of recent studies found an association between phthalate exposure and the development of childhood obesity and childhood asthma. A 2014 panel (Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel) found the chemical to greatly interfere with the production of testosterone.

Callum Lawrence

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