When parents in Poway and throughout Southern California buy food products for their kids, they should be able to expect that these items will not result in unexpected injuries. Unfortunately, however, foods we buy at the local grocery store can contain product defects that lead to serious injuries. According to a recent article in The New York Times, boxed macaroni and cheese products made with powdered cheese could be causing harm to your kids. Could this popular food, especially among children, be the potential basis for product liability claims in California?
Are Boxed Macaroni and Cheese Products Harmful to Your Child’s Health?
As the article explains, it looks as though the powdered cheese contained in many of these boxed products contains high amounts of phthalates, chemicals that “can disrupt male hormones like testosterone and have been linked to genital birth defects in infant boys and learning and behavior problems in older children.” Are these chemicals found naturally in cheese? In short, the answer is no. Rather, phthalates can “migrate into food from packaging and equipment used in manufacturing.” Young children and pregnant women should be particularly concerned with the risks associated with these chemicals.
Phthalates have been known to have the potential for causing injury for quite some time. The article emphasizes that these “potentially harmful chemicals . . . were banned from children’s teething rings and rubber duck toys a decade ago.” For the last several years, federal agencies have been tasked with assessing the risk of phthalates inasmuch as they are present in food products that kids continue to consume. The FDA submitted a report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2014, which “urged federal agencies to assess risks with a view to supporting risk management steps.”
Why are boxed macaroni and cheese products getting singled out? While phthalates have been found in a variety of foods, drugs, and beverages, a recent study of 30 different cheese products determined that the potentially hazardous chemical was present in 29 of the items. Worse yet, the highest concentrations of phthalates existed in cheese powder packets that are part of boxed macaroni and cheese products.
Food Product Defects and Consumer Injuries
More food products may contain hazards that are subjecting them to recalls. For instance, a report from Consumer Affairs notes that, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cited fewer food-related recalls in 2017, the total number of recalled units rose earlier this year by 507% to nearly 92 million food products in just the first quarter. Some food recalls should not necessarily be cause for concern. For instance, sometimes recalls happen because of a minor mislabeling issue that will not necessarily lead to an injury for the ordinary family. At the same time, some food product recalls are indeed serious, posing significant risks to kids and adults alike.
Are macaroni and cheese mixes one of these products? Keep in mind that although no recalls have been issued for boxed macaroni and cheese products, and the FDA has not banned certain recipes for these foods, it is nonetheless important for parents to be aware of potential risks.
A Product Liability Lawyer in Poway Can Help
If you have concerns about product safety, or if you believe your child may have suffered harm as a result of a product defect, a Poway product liability lawyer may be able to help with your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about the services we provide.
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(image courtesy of Jakob Owens)