The analysis was done by the the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging, a consortium of environmental health advocacy groups, and has not been published in a peer reviewed journal. While makers of these processed food claim that the product absolutely safe, phthalate are actually so toxic that they have been banned from children's toys and products.
Though the group of chemicals is never intentionally added to food products, they travel easily from food containers or bottles to the actual food items.
The chemical Phthalate is in most boxed mac and cheese, including ones labeled organic. The phthalate-contaminated products have long term health effects and are also linked with obesity, metabolic disorders and have gender altering chemicals which also affect the fertility rate and lead to defects in children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says human health effects from exposure to low levels of the chemicals are unknown, although some phthalates have altered lab animals' reproductive systems. The test was conducted on a small sample size.
According to the study, the worst offenders were the powdered cheeses from macaroni and cheese items, where levels of the potentially risky chemicals were four times higher than in other processed cheese products. Nine were Kraft Heinz products.
When trying to estimate how many phthalates we consume and are exposed to overall, Jessie Buckley, assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said it's not clear. The presence of such chemicals in the body was attributed to consuming food items packed in plastic. The petition was launched in hopes that America's biggest cheese brand removes all sources of the chemical from their products.