Phthlatates (the “ph” is silent) are a group of synthetic chemicals in many consumer products made with plastic. Linked with many serious adverse health conditions, including cancer, obesity and diabetes, phthalates can disrupt hormones in both men and women. Some common products containing the toxic group of plasticizers include cosmetics, vinyl flooring and, as a new proposed class action lawsuit has brought to light, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
According to Law360.com, the Kraft Heinz Co. was hit earlier this week with a proposed class action filed by two consumers, New York resident, Gabrielle Stuve, and Florida resident, Jessica Nicodemo. The plaintiffs claim that Kraft failed to disclose on its popular Macaroni & Cheese packaging that it contains, or risks containing, phthalates.
Kraft’s website and public reports do indeed list the controversial class of chemicals. However, on the packaging of the product in question, it says there are no artificial flavors, preservatives and dyes.
The plaintiffs allege that Kraft has violated state consumer protection laws because it wrongly “leads reasonable consumers to believe the product is wholesome and healthy and does not contain dangerous chemicals.”
In response to the class action proposal, a Kraft representative told Law360.com via written statement that “there is no merit to this lawsuit nor any indication that plaintiffs tested our products before filing suit.”
The plaintiff’s suit says that dairy is a significant source of phthalates. Also a concern, suggests the plaintiffs is that approximately 1 in every 5 people get over 80% of their calories from ultra-processed foods like powdered macaroni and cheese.
In addition to the potential side effect mentioned earlier, phthalate exposure can lead to lower sperm quality in men and endometriosis in women, according to the plaintiffs. Moreover, prenatal exposure to the chemicals may cause behavioral problems.
Per Law360.com, the plaintiffs said, “”Based on [Kraft’s] decision to advertise and market its Kraft Mac & Cheese products on its packaging as healthy, nutritious, and safe for consumption, it had a duty to ensure that these and other statements were true and not misleading, which it failed to do.”
The two lead plaintiffs are looking for other consumers of boxed Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to join a nationwide class. A subclass of plaintiffs from New York, Florida and Illinois may also be formed. The court that will decide whether or not to accept the class action will be asked by the plaintiffs to block Kraft “from continuing its allegedly unlawful conduct, requiring the company to rectify all damages its alleged misconduct has caused and award the proposed classes money to compensate injuries they’ve purportedly suffered,” per Law360.com.