Mac and Cheese-- another reason to shop Trader Joe's?

A somewhat ambiguous but troubling study published in the NYT leaves more questions than answers

If you follow food, you probably saw the recent study about Pthalates found in boxes of your kids' favorite lunch and 5th meal, good ol' Mac and Cheese. 

I don't even want to do the math on how many boxes of these our kids have eaten. We have no less than 8 boxes in our pantry as I write this. The article basically outlines a study of 30 different cheeses in which 10 mac and cheese boxes were tested. 9 out of 10 tested for high levels of Pthalates (four times higher than other cheese products), even the organic ones. 

Ingredients, and sub-ingredients, in your packaged foods can still be organic yet highly processed. The FDA also allows "processing ingredients" that do not have to be listed on the ingredient panel if there are no significant levels after processing. My interpretation of this article is that the processing of cheese base ingredients into the powder base is where the problem lies. Keeping a powder uniform in color and consistency is not easy task and requires processing technologies and ingredients, many of which come into contact with plastic. 

If you were to compare Annie's Organic mac and cheese to Trader Joe's Diner style mac and cheese, you would see many of the same ingredients. TJ's actually has four cheeses, each with its own sub-ingredient list, so at surface value, you might pick the Annie's because it is shorter. But you wouldn't see the processing ingredients. 

The NYT article that raised a lot of the attention says you can't shop your way out of the problem. But you might be able to if you avoid powders, or if you do it the old fashioned way and make it from scratch

Todd OlsenComment