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A number of chemicals to clean Annie’s promises from her brand և cheese

Traces of chemicals that are thought to cause health problems in children ակների Reproductive problems in adults were discovered almost four years later, in mass-market pasta և cheese packages, Annie’s Homegrown began working with its suppliers of offensive food processing equipment to eliminate.

The presence of chemicals called ortho-phthalates has upset consumers who rely on the basic food, especially their parents. Phthalates make hard plastic more flexible, commonly used in food processing plants, in food packaging pipelines, and conveyors.

They can interfere with male hormones, such as testosterone, and some researchers have linked them to children’s learning. But the plastics industry claims that food products have been found to contain relatively small amounts of chemicals, and food regulators have not determined that they are dangerous to consumers.

The 2017 study, funded by environmental advocacy groups, was not published in the peer-reviewed journal and found chemicals tested on all 10 varieties of macaroni, although no trademarks were found.

Annie’s, known for its rabbit logo, posted a statement on its website saying the company was working with “our trusted suppliers to eliminate orthophthalates that may be present in the packaging նյութ cheese maker in food processing equipment. րի cheese powder in our pasta և cheese. ”

A spokesman for Annie’s owner, General Mills, said in a statement: “We are committed to learning more to better understand this emerging issue, to find out how Annie can be part of the solution.”

The economic and practical reality of phthalate eradication, which can be found in many parts of the food production process, can be daunting.

Chemicals can enter food along the supply chain, including on a farm where flexible plastic pipes carry milk from a barn or in a cardboard container containing noodles. Chemicals tend to accumulate foods high in fat, such as cheese.

The obligation to remove phthalates from the production of a single food raises questions about the chemical content of countless other products made with such flexible plastic equipment.

Still, health advocates applauded General Mills for taking the step with Annie’s one of its signature brands. General Mills bought Annie’s in 2014. նրա During the epidemic, her popularity skyrocketed as home consumers turned to packaged food.

“People should not eat chemicals in their food when it can make them sick, especially where there are safer alternatives,” said Mike Belivo, CEO of Defend Our Health, an environmental and health advocacy group. focused on the emergence of dangers. phthalates

Mr. Belivo’s group, formerly known as the Center for Environmental Health Strategy, funded a study in 2017 that uncovered the presence of chemicals in food. He has since turned to phthalates for food giants such as General Mills and Kraft. “Only General Mills started a discussion with his group about phasing out chemicals from the supply chain,” he said. (Kraft did not respond to a request for comment on this article.)

“Annie’s has updated the language of their site for our new external commitment,” wrote General Mills CEO Lee Anderson to the advocacy group in a December e-mail. In a post viewed by The New York Times. “We do not plan or seek any additional communication.”

“Although we consider it possible for some consumers, in these difficult times it is not in the focus of most of our consumers, as we seek to reassure them about the basic availability and value of our products,” he said. In the mail:

Mr Anderson added that Annie was discussing implementing the changes with suppliers, developing a “supplier approval tool” but taking time to assess its effectiveness.

Other companies have taken steps to limit the amount of chemicals in their packaging, including Taco Bell, which has promised to remove phthalates from its packaging by 2025. obligation to limit phthalates in its private label products.

From 2022, Maine will ban food packages containing phthalates “in greater quantities than by chance.”

But with the exception of Annie, few companies have publicly pledged to remove phthalates from production.

The Organic Trade Association is inviting a working group this winter to begin researching how to help its members solve the problem. “But along with them, they need packaging suppliers,” said Gwendolyn Wiard, vice president of the technical regulatory and trade group.

Phthalates have powerful protectors, including Exxon Mobil, a leading manufacturer of chemicals. The chemical industry has dismissed some studies on food phthalates as “bad science” designed to raise alarming headlines but not substantiated by rigorous research.

Kevin Ott, CEO of Exxon, a flexible vinyl alliance trading group, said that many consumers’s advocates condemn certain materials too quickly. “Chemical Any chemical you can not see, smell or enchant must be dangerous,” he said.

Mr Ott criticized how some studies had measured the presence of phthalates in billions of parts in pasta ան cheese. “It’s like a finger in an Olympic-sized pool,” he said.

In 2008, Congress restricted the use of many phthalates in baby toys and instructed the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the effects of several other phthalates.

Today, after all the research, “phthalates are mostly out of toys,” Mr Ot said. “No smart businessman is going to make phthalate toys.”

Food is a different story. The Food and Drug Administration has investigated the presence of phthalates in food packaging and production equipment. A group of researchers of the agency, published in 2018, a group of researchers of the agency concluded: “To date, there have been no studies showing a link between dietary effects on human phthalates and adverse health effects.”

But the FDA has not yet made a formal decision on the issue, although researchers say food is a major concern.

“Phthalates come to our body through our skin, through our nose. We get them from everywhere, ”said Shanna Swan, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at Icahn Mountain Medical School in Mount Sinai, who has studied the effects of the chemical on it. Reproductive health. “But the main source is food.”

In a statement, the FDA spokesman said the agency was currently examining two petitions, including a petition filed five years ago by several environmental groups asking regulators to limit phthalates from “food-related substances.”

“Completing our review of these petitions and publishing our responses in the Federal Register is a priority for the FDA,” the agency said Friday.

In his book Count Down this month, Dr. Swan argues that over the past 40 years, a number of chemicals have contributed to a 50 percent reduction in sperm count, and that the effects of certain phthalates may play a role in reproduction. problems.

“This alarming rate of decline may mean that the human race will not be able to reproduce if the trend continues,” Dr. Swan wrote in the book.

“The cause of these problems is not something wrong with the human body, as it has evolved over time,” he wrote.

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