Recent reports that hazardous chemicals were found in boxed macaroni and cheese have made headlines—but parties seeking compensation for harm caused by these chemicals may face an uphill battle, according to a recent article in the New Jersey Law Journal.
Tests of the powdered cheese included in macaroni and cheese boxes found high level of phthalates in some brands. These chemicals have been associated with certain health risks, particularly in pregnant individuals and in young children. Phthalates appear to block the production of testosterone, which both sexes need for healthy growth and reproductive functioning. If testosterone is blocked during pregnancy, a child may be born infertile or with certain other reproductive abnormalities. Tests on phthalate exposure in children have also linked it to aggressive and hyperactive behavior.
Phthalates are not used as an ingredient in the food itself, but are often an ingredient in the packaging, and may be merging into the food as it’s stored and shipped, according to an analysis by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging.
Legal experts note that making the connection between any one chemical and an illness or birth defect can be difficult—although it is not always impossible. However, they also note that families may have a consumer fraud claim in some cases, because the phthalate risk was never mentioned on any of the tested packages of macaroni and cheese.
Makers of consumer products have a duty to ensure their products are reasonably safe for the items’ intended use. This duty includes not only convenience foods like mac and cheese, but also toys, clothes, furniture, and even vehicles. If you or someone you love has been injured by a consumer product, don’t hesitate to talk to an experienced New Jersey injury lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and seek the compensation you need. Contact Rudnick Law today.