It may be the cheesiest, but Kraft Macaroni & Cheese may also deliver some negative side effects. Now, a petition started by two North Carolina mothers to get Kraft to stop using yellow #5 and yellow #6, has been signed by more than 50,000 supporters.
The food colors in question contribute nothing to the taste of the American staple, but have been linked to hyperactivity, asthma, migraines and cancer. Although the artificial colors are used in the United States’ product, stricter additive regulations in the UK outlaw the ingredients. Instead, the Kraft’s UK version, “Cheesey Pasta,” uses natural beta carotene and paprika to achieve a similar color.
The North Carolina mothers, Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, posted a video and petition on Change.org titled “Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese.”
In the petition, the women state the food dyes are derived from petroleum, a crude oil product. They cited a study from the Center for Science in Public Interest that found yellow #5, yellow #6 and red #40 are contaminated with carcinogens.
Michael F. Jacobson, co-author of the study, said the dyes have absolutely no value and could easily be replaced with natural ingredients.
“The Food and Drug Administration should ban dyes, which would force industry to color foods with real food ingredients, not toxic petrochemicals.”
Leake and Hari, who both run healthy living blogs, hope that any success of their petition with Kraft will be the springboard that other food producers use to make their own changes.
“Kraft Foods is the largest food company headquartered in the United States. If Kraft changes their Macaroni and Cheese, we know this could inspire other food companies across the US to finally eliminate dangerous artificial food dyes once and for all.”
So far, the Daily Mail reported that Kraft has only responded by saying they offer a variety of all-natural cheese and noodle products.
“We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold. So in the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food use by the Food and Drug Administration,” said Lynne Galia, a Kraft spokeswoman.
Although the petition focuses on Kraft, there are shocking ingredient discrepancies between a number of American and foreign products. For example, McDonald’s french fries in the UK only contain potatoes, salt and oil. The US version includes an additional preservative… Although it’s doubtful that anyone would save their Micky D’s fries to snack on a week down the road.
Do you think the petition is an overreaction or a change that should truly be considered?
For what it’s worth, I already signed the petition! I would love the see more natural ingredients in common food products.