A recent report from Consumer Reports digs into a whole bunch of foods that have a cancer-causing chemical in them. Most of the foods on the list are things that you can find at Minnesota grocery stores.

I bet you've purchased at least one of these items in the past if not recently. They're quite popular brands that, after testing, have products with this chemical in it.

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What are Phthalates?

The chemical is called phthalates. Consumer Reports writes that phthalates (which are also referred to as plasticizers) are "a chemical used to make plastic more flexible and durable."

Anna Kim, Thinkstock
Anna Kim, Thinkstock

These phthalates can get into our food in many different ways. It could get in there because of the plastic gloves an employee was wearing while handling the food, it could come from the plastic used to build the conveyor belt that the food goes on, or it could come from the packaging the food sits in.

Consumer Reports says that almost all of the foods they tested came back with some sort of amount of phthalates. And even a small amount of phthalates are bad for you.

Why are Phthalates so Bad?

According to the National Center for Health Research, phthalates can cause type 2 diabetes, reproductive issues, developmental problems, and cancer.

So this stuff isn't good. However, based on the research from Consumer Reports, it appears that there are ways to lower the amount of phthalates in food. That's because there were some foods they studied that had quite low counts of phthalates.

The trick is getting manufacturers to get on board to make the changes. That's easier said than done.

What Can We Do?

One thing we can do to get phthalates and chemicals like it out of our food is to voice our concerns to the FDA. Another thing is being an informed consumer. That's why I want to give you this list of foods at Minnesota grocery stores that Consumer Reports found to have this chemical in them. The lower the amount of phthalates found, the better.

Foods at Minnesota Grocery Stores with Cancer-Causing Chemical, Phthalates



Brisk Iced Tea - Lemon (can) - 7,467 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Coca-Cola - Original (plastic bottle) - 6,167
Lipton - Diet Green Tea citrus (plastic bottle) - 4,433
Poland Spring - 100% Natural Spring Water (plastic bottle) - 4,217
Juicy Juice - 100% Juice - Apple (plastic bottle) - 3,348
Pepsi Cola (can) - 2,938
Juicy Juice - 100% Juice - Apple (cardboard box) - 2,260
Gatorade - Frost Thirst Quencher Glacier Freeze (plastic bottle) - 1,752

baked beans in cast iron skillet

Canned Beans:

Hormel - Chili with Beans (can) - 9,847 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Bush’s - Chili Red Beans Mild Chili Sauce (can) - 6,405
Great Value (Walmart) - Baked Beans Original (can) - 6,184
Bush’s - Baked Beans Original (can) - 3,709

Red tasty ketchup or tomato sauce in bowl isolated on white background


Mrs. Butterworth’s - Syrup Original (plastic bottle) - 1,010 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Hunt’s - Tomato Ketchup (plastic bottle) - 574
Sweet Baby Ray’s - Barbecue Sauce Original (plastic bottle) - 22

Pure White Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone, Blurred Green Foliage in Background


Fairlife - Core Power High Protein Milk Shake - Chocolate (plastic bottle) - 22,452 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
SlimFast - High Protein Meal Replacement Shake - Creamy Chocolate (plastic bottle) - 16,916
Yoplait - Original Low Fat Yogurt - French Vanilla (plastic) - 10,948
Ben and Jerry’s - Ice Cream - Vanilla (paperboard carton) - 6,387
Great Value (Walmart) - Ice Cream Homestyle - Vanilla (paperboard) - 3,068
Jell-O - Pudding Snacks Original - Chocolate (plastic) - 1,756
Sargento - Sliced Natural Cheddar Cheese - Sharp (plastic) - 1,481
Land O’Lakes - Butter Salted (paper wrap/cardboard) - 581



General Mills - Cheerios Original (paperboard box with plastic bag inside) - 10,980 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Success - 10 Minute Boil-in-Bag White Rice (paperboard box with plastic bag inside) - 4,308
Pepperidge Farm - Farmhouse Hearty White Bread (plastic bag) - 2,184

Infant formula in spoon. High angle view of baby formula and spoon in can
Oleksandr Pirko

Baby Food:

Gerber - Mealtime for Baby Harvest Turkey Dinner (glass with lined lid) - 4,267 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Similac - Advance Infant Milk-Based Powder Formula (can) - 4,202
Beech-Nut - Fruities Pouch - Pear, Banana, and Raspberries (pouch) - 2,826
Gerber - Cereal for Baby - Rice (plastic) - 1,599
Happy Baby - Organics Clearly Crafted - Banana and Strawberries (glass with lined lid) - 1,300
Happy Baby - Organic Milk-Based Infant Powder Formula with Iron (plastic) - 977
Gerber - Organic for Baby Pouch - Apple, Zucchini, Spinach, Strawberry (pouch) - 706

chicken legs


Perdue - Ground Chicken Breast (plastic) - 9,985 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Trader Joe’s - Ground Pork 80% Leak 20% Fat (plastic wrap) - 5,503
Premio Foods - Sweet Italian Sausage (foam tray with plastic wrap) - 4,725
Libby’s - Corned Beef (can) - 4,088
Bar S - Chicken Jumbo Franks (plastic) - 3,295
Applegate - Naturals Oven Roasted Turkey Breast (plastic) - 2,295
Swanson - White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast (can) - 1,376
Johnsonville - Smoked Sausage Beef Hot Links (plastic) - 912

woman opening a can of corn with can opener

Packaged Fruits and Veggies:

Del Monte - Sliced Peaches in 100% Fruit Juice (can) - 24,928 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Green Giant - Cream Style Sweet Corn (can) - 7,603
Del Monte - Fresh Cut Italian Green Beans (can) - 5,264
Progresso - Vegetable Classics Vegetable Soup (can) - 2,888
Birds Eye - Steamfresh Cut Green Beans (plastic bag) - 907
Hunt’s - Tomato Sauce (can) - 680

steamy bowl of chicken noodle soup

Prepared Meals:

Annie’s - Organic Cheesy Ravioli (can) - 53,579 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
Chef Boyardee - Beefaroni Pasta in Tomato and Meat Sauce (can) - 13,628
Banquet - Chicken Pot Pie (paperboard) - 12,494
Campbell’s - Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle Soup (plastic) - 6,768
Chef Boyardee - Big Bowl Beefaroni Pasta in Meat Sauce (plastic) - 5,064
Campbell’s - Chicken Noodle Soup (can) - 2,848
Red Baron - Brick Oven Cheese-Trio Pizza (paperboard box with plastic wrap inside) - 1,707



Chicken of the Sea - Pink Salmon in Water - Skinless Boneless (can) - 24,321 total phthalates per serving (in nanograms)
King Oscar - Wild Caught Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can) - 7,792
Snow’s - Chopped Clams (can) - 4,380
StarKist - Wild Caught Light Tuna in Water (pouch) - 1,735
StarKist - Chunk Light Tuna in Water (can) - 1,687
Season Brand - Sardines in Water - Skinless and Boneless (can) - 1,258

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