What Is That Loose White Powder In Your Easy Mac And Cheese?

08/29/2014 07:00 am ET

If you're feeling really hungry, you may not even notice the loose, white powder strewn among the noodles in your single serving cup of Kraft Triple Cheese Macaroni & Cheese.

Kraft doesn't promise "natural ingredients," and with a nuclear orange cheese powder that comes ready to stir from an aluminum packet, it'd be foolish to think "natural" is what you're getting. Ahem:


But even before you stir in that iconic cheese powder, your uncooked noodles are already dressed with a bit of powder.


You can probably mix up a bowl of instant mac and cheese with your eyes closed, which means you rarely read the label. Upon closer inspection you'll see this little note:
kraft arrow

So, what exactly is this mystery macaroni dust? The Huffington Post reached out to the Kraft Foods Consumer Center, where a representative identified the stuff simply as "modified food starch." According to the representative, the starch is added to prevent the product from boiling over in the microwave. Starch thickens water, which keeps it from boiling so violently.

It's good to know that this little addition to the noodle bowl is keeping microwaves from becoming a mess; chances are, if you're eating a portable bowl of something promoted as "cheesy made easy," you're not planning to spend a lot of time on clean up.

Modified starch is pretty common. It's used in other foods, like desserts and frozen goods, as a thickening agent. Still, if you're turned off by the loose powder and want to be in control of what tops your noodles, we welcome you to try any one of these homemade recipes. Happy cheesin'.

Mac N Cheese

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