Annie’s Mac & Cheese Mix

 

General Mills, which owns the Annie’s Homegrown brand, is the object of a class action lawsuit for failing to disclose the presence of a chemical called “phthalates” in it’s organic Mac & Cheese mix.

Phthalates are a class of chemicals used as softening agents in plastics, including food processing machinery and packaging.  They are hormone disruptors that have been linked to many of the problems we are seeing today, including asthma, ADHD, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, and autism spectrum disorders.  But while they have been removed from many items used by babies, the Food and Drug Administration has not taken steps to remove them from food.

Powdered cheese mixes are notoriously high in phthalates, and the fact that a product is labeled organic is no assurance that it is free of the chemical.

While it’s virtually impossible to avoid phthalates entirely, you can reduce exposure by microwaving food in glass rather than plastic.  And avoid drink hot beverages in plastic cups.

These plastic softeners are widely used in hospital equipment, so exposure from that source cannot be avoided, but one simple way to protect yourself is to avoid fragrances – they also contain phthalates!