Food, Health

A Potentially Dangerous Chemical May Be Hidden in a Boxed Favorite

Boxed mac and cheese is offered in various different sizes and flavors at a East Syracuse Walmart (c) 2017 Mye Owens

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Boxed Macaroni and Cheese May Be Harmful to Central New Yorkers

Central New York residents give their view on the recent chemical findings.

By Mye Owens Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — 

Recently, the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging found phthalates in boxed mac and cheese products.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals mostly found in plastics. The chemical is easily spread while foods are being processed and prepared for packaging.

The study of 30 cheese products by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging produced three major findings:

1) Phthalates were detected in nearly every cheese product tested.

2) The phthalate levels were four times higher in macaroni and cheese powder samples than in hard blocks and other natural cheese.

3) DEHP, the most widely restricted phthalate, was found more often and at a higher concentration than any other phthalate.

Despite these reports, some Central New Yorkers are not phased by the findings.

Syracuse native, Sonya Germany, stays away from boxed products. She is not shocked by the recent reports and says, “it deters me from buying anything like that. I’ve never had boxed macaroni and cheese, ever.” Sonya says, “Its just too easy to make on my own.”

Syracuse University students Eric and Jordan McGriff have enjoyed boxed mac and cheese since they were children. They say the appearance of the box is a big determining factor in their purchase. They say, “I love the Kraft! Sponge Bob, the cartoon ones are the best, that’s my favorite!” As college students, the brothers love not only the price of the products, but also how fast it cooks.

Kelly Springer, a local Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, offers a piece advice for those who may be struggling between their love for the product and the recent reports. According to Springer, consumers should keep “Everything in moderation, but trying to get real food into your diet is always the goal.”

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging works to convince the food industry to remove all phthalates from their food.