Tag Archives: debunking myths

Mac and Cheese: Deadly?!

Whether you’re searching for a youtube video or an article via google, one thing is certain. Everyone is convinced Kraft Mac and Cheese will kill us all. First, the misleading but apparently omniscient Food Babe convinced people that Kraft had toxins in their food – I’d rather not link to her site and give her the clicks, so let’s sum it up to this sentence taken from one of her many articles about the company:

Kraft is using this new campaign to distract people’s attention away from the petroleum based artificial dyes they use in Mac & Cheese to hot sexy abs.

If that’s not some esoteric, cult-like language, I don’t know what is. We already know she endorses her products because of those affiliate links, but her behavior has always been reminiscent of that of a self-centered, spoiled brat who thinks she’s right about everything.


As if that nonsense wasn’t bad enough to deal with – and yes, Kraft did change their recipe as they had already been planning before her bogus petition of “a quarter of a million” signatures – a phrase that people like Vani Hari (Food Babe) use, instead of actual numbers, to convince you that their following is larger than it is – but just recently there was an article by the New York Times, regarding the phthalates in our dear old Mac and Cheese!

Before we get into that, let’s discuss what phthalates are. The exact definition won’t tell you much unless you’re a chemistry whiz (and we love all of you chemists out there, truly).


Let’s just keep it simple by stating what the purpose of a phthalate is: it’s used to increase the flexibility and durability of what it’s added to – mostly plastics. To say that a chemical found both in a food item and non-food item is automatically toxic would be irresponsible, and completely untrue.

In high doses, yes phthalates can cause harm, to pregnant women and their unborn children, as the article stated. However, it’s worth noting that the article doesn’t even bother to mention the dose at which the mac and cheese would need to be consumed in order to cause any damage at all! After all, the dose makes the poison. Not the other way around.


For example, a glass of Merlot with my dinner is not going to harm me; in fact, it has its benefits. An entire bottle might cause some judgment impairment, a serious hangover in the morning and, with continued alcohol use, could lead to cirrhosis and other organ problems. That one glass of Merlot, though, will have zero negative impact on my health.

In addition to the misinformation being spread, you should pay attention to where the study was published, the study that the New York Times had written the misleading article about. It came from a group called kleanupkraft.org, which doesn’t list a single scientist as its author. It doesn’t seem to directly name anyone, and I can’t get behind a “movement” like that; one which blatantly misleads consumers of a product it’s rallying against, with little evidence to back its claims.

How did so many news outlets manage to write articles and make videos about this study without even checking the source? The same way Vani Hari convinces people of what to eat and what not to eat… Fear mongering!


People buy into what you’re saying when you use terms like toxic, chemicals, and anything as long as your words seem like you can back up what you say… even if you can’t. It takes a certain kind of charisma (and lack of moral code) to steer people away from a harmless product that they once enjoyed.

But hey, Vani Hari of Food Babe needs to earn her paycheck like the rest of us, doesn’t she?



For more information on phthalates, check out the FDA’s page dedicated to the subject right here!