Kraft Acknowledged Petition But Didn’t Address Concerns

For the first time in the more than 2 weeks since we launched our petition asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese, Kraft has finally acknowledged our petition and the more than 270,000 consumers who have signed it. (Transcript of video below)

Our Video Response To Kraft’s Latest Letter

Kraft’s Letter Posted on their Website (This was not sent to us directly)

Kraft-Click-To-Enlarge

Our Video Transcript:

Their response, posted on their website (no longer available), states that 14 of their 45 or so varieties of macaroni and cheese do not contain artificial dyes and the ones that do contain dyes do not violate any FDA or European safety guidelines. However, they failed to mention that when these artificial dyes are used in Europe they require a warning label stating they “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

First of all, the macaroni and cheese options here in the US have the similar “blue box” look and every single version that is geared toward children, with cartoon characters and phrases like “cheddar explosion,” all contain petroleum-based yellow #5 and yellow #6. The average American consumer is not versed on reading and understanding ingredient labels so would not even be able to determine the difference among all these similar looking boxes and – more importantly – many likely don’t realize these dyes are the culprit when it comes to their child’s misbehavior and other health issues.

Kraft-Kids

We’ve received hundreds of letters from consumers telling us how these artificial dyes have negatively impacted their children. And, coincidentally, just last week a friend of Lisa’s sent her message saying that her normally smart, kind, very obedient, and well-behaved child – who is in the gifted and talented program at her school – had a very strange and disturbing outburst and she wasn’t sure why. Their family normally eats pretty clean, but she happened to let her daughter have a store-bought treat, and shortly thereafter she had a huge explosive meltdown. She said the last time a meltdown of this magnitude occurred was also right after a similar store-bought snack – which after some discussion we determined both contained artificial dye. This is what she said in her message, her “daughter’s actual FACE changed, her eyes became dark underneath and she became angry and irrational.” At one point – and she was even a little embarrassed to tell me this – her daughter “yelled, opened the door to the house, and ran outside uncontrollably.” Later that night she cried and said ‘Why did I do that mommy?’”

This is exactly why those telling us “Just don’t buy this mac and cheese anymore” won’t work. Because as we mentioned the average consumer doesn’t understand these artificial dyes are a problem ingredient and pose health risks and should be avoided. We have directly reached out to various executives at Kraft since day 1 of our petition through emails, voice mails and tweets. They continue to ignore us personally, and all we’d like to do is meet with them to come to some sort of conclusion so we can all move on.

We even had our blog readers reach out to Kraft through social media and the Kraft customer service hotline. There were so many voice mail messages left at the headquarters that we were told by many that they couldn’t get through or even leave a message because their mailboxes were full. And by the looks of both the Kraft general and Kraft Mac and Cheese Facebook pages they have been overwhelmed with comments about this campaign, with over 95% of them asking Kraft to remove these artificial dyes from their mac and cheese, just like they’ve already done for their European customers.

One reader who attempted to call the Kraft headquarters was told that the organic version of Kraft Mac and Cheese was one option she could buy without the artificial dye – yet after the customer service rep did a quick search using her zip code he could not find that particular product within a 50-mile radius of her home. And she isn’t exactly out in rural America…she lives in one of the biggest cities in our country, Chicago, which also happens to be right where Kraft is headquartered!

Also, in Kraft’s response last week they claim that their customers don’t want them to make changes to this iconic product. Who are the people who want their mac and cheese with artificial dyes? These dyes, which only benefit the food manufacturer and not the customer, do not change the flavor or affect the nutritional value of the foods they are in. They are purely for cosmetic reasons only. So who are these consumers that Kraft says “won’t settle for anything less?” Clearly Kraft has already figured out a way to formulate their original recipe without artificial dyes for their customers in Europe. We made and tried both versions ourselves – and so did Dr. Oz on his show – and we all came to the same conclusion that they look and taste virtually the same.

We’d like to stress that Kraft has not only removed artificial dyes from their mac and cheese overseas, they have removed them – and replaced them with safer natural dyes – from almost ALL of their product lines including Lunchables, Trident Gum, Ritz Cheese Crackers, and Halls Cough Drops, just to name a few. And here in the US we are simply asking them to start with their flagship product, macaroni and cheese, which they reportedly sell 350 million boxes of per year. (No wonder they haven’t responded favorably to our petition yet.) But their lack of response is not going to stop us from trying to get them to take the lead on this small – yet significant and positive – change for our food industry.

If you want to get involved with our campaign to request that these artificial dyes be removed here are some things you can do to help:

Help Us Get Our Voices Heard

  1. Sign and SHARE our petition at change.org/kraftyellow
  2. Contact Kraft headquarters to tell them how you feel about their response. You can call their general lines 800-323-0768 or 847-646-2000 or 800-431-1001 or one of the branding managers at 847.646.5734
  3. Tell them how you feel on their FB wall at https://www.facebook.com/kraftmacaroniandcheese or https://www.facebook.com/KraftFoods
  4. Send them a tweet at @kraftfoods or @kraftmacncheese
  5. Or email them at news@kraftfoods.com, Noelle.OMara@kraftfoods.com, lynne.galia@kraftfoods.com, irene.Rosenfeld@kraftfoods.com, cindy.halvorsen@kraftfoods.com,
  6. Vote with your dollars by choosing macaroni and cheese and other products from brands that do not use artificial dyes.

Thank you to everyone who is helping to support this campaign. We feel it’s an important one and, based on the more than a quarter million signatures we’ve received at change.org/kraftyellow, clearly we are not alone. We can’t wait to celebrate with you when Kraft finally removes these unnecessary – yet potentially harmful – artificial dyes.

100 Days of Real Food & Food Babe

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75 thoughts on “Kraft Acknowledged Petition But Didn’t Address Concerns”

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  1. Hi there, I just stumbled upon this post and it is disheartening. I have been thinking about making to a stand to a company as well, and this response is discouraging. In my case, I have an iron deficiency and have to take an iron-vitamin C supplement every day. Unfortunately, the supplement contains the food dye red 40. I hate that I am putting this dye inside my body every day. I am avoiding artificial dyes in my food, and it is very discouraging that I have no choice but to put a dye in my body to stay healthy. I want to contact the maker of the supplement but have no idea where to start.

  2. I don’t understand the claims that people don’t know how to read an ingredient label. I have understood food labels since I was a child, and no one had to teach me to do it. I am against artificial dyes and all of the many unhealthy things in processed food, but it’s really the responsibility of the consumer to know what they’re eating, and I don’t really see what’s so hard to figure out with packaging. If you care about your diet, you can figure out labels and ingredients pretty easily. While I support informative labeling, especially on things we don’t have any way to know about from current labeling (e.g., GMOs), I think that taken too far, it’s also kind of catering to the lowest common denominator and reinforcing that we don’t need to do any thinking of our own.

  3. If Kraft will not change it on their own, i wonder, in Europe they have to post a warning about the danger of the dies on products that contain them. Is there a way to get a similar law instated in the USA.

  4. I say be a real mom, get off your lazy bum, STOP buying garbage, and make your own mac & cheese. Health wise, even if you make your own it is not a healthy food. Make “real” health food for your families and stop wasting time fighting a silly battle. Spend that wasted time in the kitchen or helping your children with homework or simply just playing and having fun with them. Get real! There are bigger wars to fight…GMOs, pollution and disease from CAFOS. I wouldn’t touch a box of Mac n Cheese. That’s a no-brainer. But, neither will I sign your petition because even if they take out the color it is still going to be a garbage food I “still” would not want to touch!!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Rosa. If you read the petition blog posts or were familiar with our blog, you would have a better understanding of where we are coming from. We are a real food blog and we feed our children good wholesome homemade nutritious food (not boxed mac and cheese). It was meant to be a message to the food industry to move them in the direction of not putting harmful ingredients in the foods that countless people buy. You completely missed the point. ~Amy

    2. I hate to straddle the middle but I can see both sides here. My first response is the same as Rosa’s – stop eating this crap! I mean I have highly educated friends whose kids eat this all the time in addition to lots of other processed crap and they do know better, it just makes their life easier. I realize though for the greater good we should worry about large companies tainting their food knowing they can sell it to the uncaring individuals who choose to buy it. Some days it does get hard to care about so many who choose to ignore their health and the health of their children.

  5. FYI – You made the national Canadian news today. I just watched the story on CTV. :)

    Apparently 25,000 Canadians have signed the petition.

  6. You guys are doing a great job. It’s obvious Kraft will not budge. The best advice is to simply not buy their product. It’s garbage food, really. I opt to simply make my own mac and cheese.

  7. This is dumb. Why would you feed your kids mass-produced food to begin with? Because it’s easy and you are lazy? Maybe you should spend your energy preparing healthy unprocessed meals for your kids instead of writing letters? But I get it – you wouldn’t get any internet “fame” for that.

    Everybody with a third grade education knows processed food is less healthy than whole food. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you buy it, don’t complain.

  8. I live in Canada where they use tartrazine, which seems to be different than these yellow dyes but also very harmful. I have never seen the products mentioned, they do however sell one made with flax and another made with cauliflower. It sells for double the price! So what do you think most parents are buying? It is not just Kraft, it’s everywhere and in so many processed foods. I don’t know why it’s allowed when they know the effects, it’s not saving the government $ so why don’t they get off of their arses and do something about it? It’s so easy to say don’t buy it, that doesn’t solve any problem, for every one persont that stops, 100 more buy it. So keep up the good work, and nudge them in Canada to please…

  9. Hey everyone!
    We need to do the same thing to Mars. M&Ms have all sorts of colors.
    We also need to bombard our legislators and FDA. They need to put the warning system on the labels here in the US as well. Same thing for Aspartame.
    We have a right to know what is in our food!

  10. Can someone tell me why Annie’s is OK if Kraft isn’t. I was researching this and yellow Annie’s mac and cheese has Annatto. This is a food dye! It’s made from an “inediable” plant and from my brief research sessions appears to cause more reactions than the dyes you are protesting. If so why if Kraft bad and Annie’s isn’t. Now I am not a champion of Kraft (cooked it maybe 2x’s in the last year), but I’m more against companies that claim that bad foods are healthy.

      1. So hemlock, nighshade and opium would be fine to feed your kids because they come from a natural source? For that matter petroleum comes from a natural source. I think that natural = good is what Annie’s might want you to think, but doesn’t make sense to me.

      2. Critical Reader

        Not to forget about asbestos, aflatoxins, or botulin. Well, I just tried to explain you the thought process. Of course, you could question any food coloring at all. Why does Mac & Cheese have to be bright yellow? You could even take it a step further and question the consumption of Mac & Cheese at first place. Mac & Cheese is junk food, no matter if it is homemade or Annie’s or Kraft’s. If it was treated as junk food – okay to eat, but not on a regular base and maybe not as a full meal – you would not have to worry at all about its food dyes as they would be consumed in just minimal amounts. But then you can’t blame Kraft (or Annie’s) for your misbehaving kids and your obesity anymore – that sucks.

  11. I am sooo done with Kraft after this. This letter is so insulting. I looked up their list of brands so I can make sure I’m not buying any of their products anymore. Most of them we don’t buy because we don’t buy processed foods, but I notices Triscuits are on the list. Does anyone have a good alternative to Tricuits (or a recipe to make something like them)?

  12. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. There are plenty of other Mac & Cheese options. I love it just the way it is. The color of Mac & Cheese adds to the nostalgic look one sees while eating it. I’ve tried other brands with artificial & some with all-natural ingredients (even homemade) and none of them compare to the best, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I would be saddened if its wonderful taste was changed even in the slightest. This modern world is all about diversity and I for one believe all kids and kids-at-heart who grew up with the “original” Kraft Mac & Cheese should stand up to discrimination of food maker’s rights. Everyone has a choice not to eat something, just like I have the choice to pick up a box of delicious Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

    1. Phil, I totally respect your right to keep eating KD. The problem is….someone’s right is being violated either way. You all pay taxes so that the government oversees the safety of the food supply through the FDA. People trust this process. People trust reputable family friendly companies. Our food supply is becoming third world in respects to food. European countries are setting the bar by banning ingredients (even in dog food that we allow here) or acknowledging studies and labeling the risks. Food labeling is a huge issue right now with the government and all of these companies are pouring billions of dollars into fighting legislation to keep ingredients or processing secret? WHY would they do this??? Because they want to hide things. They are violating our rights to knowledge and a cleaner food supply. So while you feel your rights are being discriminated against…the rights of parents who assume their food is safe…is being violated. I know it’s hard to be told your favourite food has unsafe ingredients. In fact, they might be okay for you, but they are poisonous to others…so let’s reach a happy medium, don’t advertise those risky foods to developing children (I’m sure you can’t argue that)and STICK A WARNING LABEL ON IT!!! (Would a label bother you?) It’s understandable that you feel violated because it just doesn’t affect you. But one day it will…whether it’s a loved one who’s always sick and goes through a bunch of tests only to be told they don’t know what’s wrong with them….or you see a relative struggling with one of the growing auto-immune diseases….or your child’s teacher is too busy or frustrated to teach them because they’re dealing with chaos in the classroom. God forbid it’s not seeing your own child struggling with behavioral issues….but in the end what’s important is your right to eat colorful nostalgic KD.

  13. MMMMMM we just finished eating our homemade Macaroni and cheese from the recipe here on your website. I haven’t bought Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in years and will continue voting with my dollars. And really, making it from scratch is almost just as quick and easy as the box mix!