Annie’s promises to remove a chemical from its mac and cheese that’s linked to infertility, cancer, and learning difficulties

Canela LópezWed, 24 February 2021, 7:52 pm

annie's
Madeline Diamond/INSIDER

Annie’s Homegrown recently announced it is working with suppliers to eliminate a harmful chemical linked to infertility and learning difficulties from its highly popular boxed mac and cheese.

The brand, which is known for using organic ingredients, made the decision on February 21 to phase out phthalates, a chemical commonly found in plastic manufacturing parts.

“Food integrity and consumer trust are our top priorities at Annie’s,” the statement on Annie’s website reads. “We are troubled by the recent report of phthalates found in dairy ingredients of macaroni and cheese and take this issue seriously.”

The decision comes four years after a 2017 study by the Coalition for Safer Food found the industrial chemical in 30 cheese products, including macaroni and cheese, and baby toys. The highest concentrations of phthalates were found in boxed macaroni and cheese.

According to the New York Times, finding a phthalate-free brand of macaroni and cheese may not be so simple: the authors of a 2017 report said the chemicals could be found in all 10 of the major macaroni and cheese brands they tested, though their brands were not disclosed.

Phthalates are known to impact fertility, learning disabilities, and cause birth defects

Phthalates are not isolated to instant mac and cheese and baby toys. They can be found in many processed foods, lotions, and cosmetics.

According to previous reporting by Insider’s Hilary Brueck, chemicals like phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors because of how they change the way our body’s hormones work, in a way that actively harms us.

They are plasticizer chemicals used to make plastics softer and more flexible. Often, they make their way into our food, lotions, and makeup when they are released from plastic manufacturing parts used to process products like instant mac and cheese.

When they enter our bodies, phthalates may cause cancer, may negatively impact fertility, and may cause birth defects in children. Some evidence suggests the chemicals can also lead to premature birth.

Can we have phthalate-free boxed mac and cheese?

More companies like Annie’s, AmazonWhole FoodsCostco, and Taco Bell are making the promise to eliminate phthalates from their products.

The US Food and Drug Administration has yet to restrict the chemical from food and cosmetic processing plants It is a topic of discussion, but it’s unclear when such a move would happen.

Annie’s has not set an official date to phase our the chemicals by but released a statement on their website about what this means for its products:

“We continue to work with our trusted suppliers to eliminate ortho-phthalates that may be present in the packaging materials and food processing equipment that produces the cheese and cheese powder in our macaroni and cheese.”

Read the original article on Insider