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General Mills has too much plastic in its food, Consumer Reports says

Patriot-News - 2/9/2024

The nonprofit organization Consumer Reports is asking multinational manufacturer General Mills to cut back on the amount of plastic chemicals found in some of its food products.

In an open letter addressed to Jeffry L. Harmening, the CEO and chairman of General Mills, Brian Ronholm, the director of food policy at Consumer Reports, said that during recent tests on a variety of foods, it found a high level of phthalates in several General Mills products.

The highest amount, the letter said, was in a can of Annie’s Organic cheesy ravioli, which had 53,579 nanograms of phthalates per serving.

Other products Consumer Reports aid had high amounts of plastic included:

The Centers for Disease Control says that phthalates or plasticizers are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable. They can be found in everything from vinyl flooring to hair care products.

Ronholm’s letter said that the tolerable daily intake levels that exist for phthalates aren’t adequately protective, adding that “harmful effects from these chemicals may be cumulative, so steady exposure to even very small amounts over time could increase health risks.”

While recognizing that plasticizers in food cannot be completely avoided, Ronholm noted that some of the products tested had much lower levels, showing that it is possible reduce the amount.

In its January study, Consumer Reports found that 99% of supermarket and fast food contain plasticizers, while 79% contain bisphenol A, another potentially harmful substance.

“We hope General Mills will commit to take the necessary steps to reduce the levels of plasticizers in your products,” the letter concludes. “Please provide a response to this letter by February 27, 2024.”

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