The Healthy Stuff team has been working on researching phthalates (THAL-eights), a plasticizer and solvent. We found that almost all the cheese products we tested were contaminated with phthalates, a hormone disruptor. Overall, the more processed the product, the more phthalates it contains. Cheese powder from boxed mac n' cheese contained the most of all the products we tested, and this finding received quite a bit of news coverage- including the New York Times.
We’re pleased to learn that The Kraft Heinz Company has responded to consumer concerns that industrial chemicals such as phthalates don’t belong in any of its products. Kraft is the largest producer of mac n’ cheese and all cheese products in the United States.
Kraft is telling its customers online that: “we are working to learn more about how trace amounts of phthalates may be introduced into certain products and if there is anything else we can do to reduce or eliminate them.”
That’s a positive first step, recognizing that there’s a problem—good work, Kraft!
But if Kraft were really listening to its customers, it would know that what they want is meaningful action to solve the problem. We haven’t seen that yet.
We have offered to meet with Kraft to share what we have learned from the scientific literature about how phthalates may be entering their products from food processing equipment, like plastic tubes and conveyor belts, and from packaging materials, like inks and adhesives. We’ve also offered to share specific information on the availability of safer phthalate-free alternatives that can virtually eliminate sources of phthalates that end up in food.
We’re still awaiting Kraft’s response.
We look forward to the day when the company can point to specific actions it has taken to reduce or eliminate phthalates. And to the day we can no longer detect phthalates in its macaroni and cheese powder or its other cheese products.
Let’s show Kraft it’s time to listen up:
Next time you are in the store, take a photo of yourself “listening” to a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share it on social media under the hashtag #KleanUpKraft with a link to kleanupkraft.org.
We’ll share our favorite photos in the weeks to come—and show Kraft how many of us want meaningful action, now!
Looking for other ways to keep the pressure on Kraft? CLICK HERE for graphics and more to spread the word about our campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Together, we can show Kraft how many of us want meaningful action to eliminate any and all sources of toxic phthalates in food.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the unacceptable health risks that phthalates pose to pregnant women and young children, view our fact sheet here.
To reinforce Kraft’s positive first step—and to call on the company to eliminate ANY and ALL phthalates in its food processing and products—please sign and share our petition at www.KleanUpKraft.org.
For an in-depth report on the science of phthalates from authoritative experts with the federal government, click here.
Published on October 26, 2017