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Mac and cheese powder may pose serious health threat, study says

Mac and cheese powder may pose serious health threat, study says

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, the group behind KleanUpKraft.org, tested 30 cheese products for phthalates, a group of plastics used to make plastics more flexible.

Are you one of those who love macaroni and cheese?

The study was published by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, a group of consumers, doctors, scientists, and health advocates. However, since 2008, a number of phthalates have been banned in children's products by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. But now a study of products that use cheese have found the substances which leak into food from packaging and equipment in nearly all samples. Natural cheeses had the lowest levels of the chemical, while processed cheese products had the highest levels.

These chemicals are believed to pose a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children. The samples were sent to an independent lab in Belgium, where the fats were extracted and tested for 13 different types of phthalates.

The report which is available online says that "Cheese powder generally had higher levels of phthalate than cheese slices".

Natural cheeses had the lowest phthalate levels, while processed cheese powders had levels four times higher.

Nine of the products analyzed were created by Kraft, which is the leading provider of mac and cheese products across the country. It says more research is needed to assess how phthalates impacts human health. When asked about the report, Kraft Heinz told CNN, "We do not add phthalates to our products".

"The trace amounts that were reported in this limited study are more than 1,000 times lower than levels that scientific authorities have identified as acceptable", the company told TIME.

"Our belief is that (phthalates are) in every mac "n" cheese product - you can't shop your way out of the problem", Belliveau said.

Kraft, one of the most popular mac and cheese brands, denies using the chemical.