In February 2021, the US organic food company Annie’s Homegrown announced its products contain phthalates at levels below the threshold of 0.05 mg/kg of body weight recommended by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and it assured consumers it will “continue to work with [its] 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 [their] macaroni and cheese.”

In 2017, a report found phthalates in 29 out of 30 tested U.S. cheese products, especially macaroni and cheese (FPF reported). In their statement, Annie’s explained to its customers that all their products are tested and any trace of phthalates today “are below the EFSA standard.” In addition, Annie’s promised to continue reviewing available scientific research and working with its supply chain partners “to better understand this emerging issue and determine how Annie’s can be part of the solution.”

Annie’s statement follows calls for other food companies to phase out phthalates, such as Kraft Heinz (FPF reported), and voluntary initiatives launched by companies such as Amazon (FPF reported). Phthalates are ubiquitous across materials in many food supply chains; from plastics used in farm equipment (FPF reported) to packaging ink. Exposure to them has been linked to many adverse health outcomes, including a recent study on impaired neurodevelopment and behavioral disorders (FPF reported).

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Annie’s (February 2021). “Frequently Asked Questions: Does Annie’s mac and cheese contain phthalates?.”

Michael Corkery (February 19, 2021). “Annie’s Pledges to Purge a Class of Chemicals From Its Mac and Cheese.” New York Times