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Tests reveal "concerning" levels of plastics found in General Mills products

Consumer Reports says General Mills has "concerning" levels of phthalates in food products
Consumer Reports says General Mills has "concerning" levels of phthalates in food products 02:06

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Consumer Reports says it found plastic chemicals in every food product it tested at very high levels, including products sold by General Mills.

"Consumers should be very concerned, but they shouldn't panic," said Brian Ronholm, Consumer Reports' Director of Food Policy.

After testing dozens of supermarket products, Consumer Reports found plastic chemicals - known as phthalates in nearly all of them.

"As food crews goes through the production processes, there's, you know, different points, where they, they run into kind of plastic equipment as their process. So there's that potential for the plastics to leach into food that way," said Ronholm. 

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Even more concerning — the impact these chemicals can have.

"There's growing research that these plasticizers are endocrine disruptors, and that means that they can interfere with the production and regulation of estrogen and hormones," said Ronholm. 

One of these studies was conducted by the University of Minnesota in 2018. It measured phthalate levels in expecting mothers and found their children with higher exposures had a 20-40% increased risk of language delay. Language delay is a problem seen twice as often in boys. The chemicals have also been linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

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"These problems develop slowly and sometimes over decades. So that makes it difficult for researchers and regulators FDA to really prioritize them," said Ronholm. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for General Mills said, "Food safety is our top priority at General Mills. All our products adhere to regulatory requirements, and we review our ingredients, packaging and suppliers on a regular basis to ensure quality."

"It's very misleading to say regulatory requirements are being met," Ronholm explained. "Because they virtually don't exist or the ones that do are so weak."

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