In a mere 36 hours our petition asking Kraft to remove artificial food dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese products has gone viral and now has more than 170,000 signatures. We are so taken aback by the instant and widespread media attention on this topic, which we think indicates how this much-needed change in our Food Industry has been imminent for some time. One of the big guys just needed a little push in the right direction, and we hope this is it. (Be sure to sign the petition if you haven’t already!).
We want to take a moment to share that this petition is honestly much bigger than just macaroni and cheese or even Kraft. There are many large US companies that use artificial dyes – as well as other additives – in their food products here that are not used overseas. Everyone from General Mills to Kellogg’s to Pepsi, and of course Kraft, have formulated safer, better versions of their products for other countries and this petition is a vehicle to let these companies know it’s time for American consumers to get the same.
Our petition in particular is focusing on an iconic food product like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because we thought this would be the best place to start to generate public awareness. If Kraft, the largest US-based food company, takes the lead by voluntarily removing potentially harmful – yet unnecessary – artificial food dyes our hope is that the others will follow suit. Whether or not you buy or eat this product think of those who do (the average consumer assumes products on grocery store shelves are completely safe and seldom reads ingredient labels). The UK version, which we made and sampled ourselves, is dyed with natural colors (paprika and beta carotene) and looks and tastes almost exactly the same. This is not about taking away anyone’s beloved mac and cheese.
Here’s the Bottom Line
Artificial food dyes are derived from petroleum, they either require a warning label or have been phased out in other developed countries due to health concerns, and they add NO value to the foods they are in whatsoever. These dyes are purely for aesthetic reasons only. Check out my post sharing the 7 reasons I hate artificial dyes for more information.
Some of the Comments
We’ve gotten all sorts of interesting feedback from readers and commenters about our crusade…everything from:
“Whenever my son has artificial dyes his behaviors really increase!! It is time to remove these harmful ingredients once and for all!!”
“Signed your petition and I fully support you! Thanks for opening our eyes in the US!”
To some that aren’t so positive like:
“Then just don’t buy it”
FYI – Just for the record we don’t buy it and happen to care about more than just ourselves.
And even one commenter said:
“If you dont like it dont eat it. stop messing things up for the rest of us”
Another reader “Marcie” summed it up well:
How is removing a harmful ingredient “messing things up for the rest of us”? Kraft has successfully reformulated this product in other countries without sacrificing taste.
Kraft has responded to our petition stating that “The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously.” They also shared that they have just over a dozen versions of macaroni and cheese in the US that do not contain artificial dyes. Vani and I are still concerned though about the 30 or so that do contain these dyes, over half of which are targeted at children.
Unbelievable Media Attention!
So we will continue to fight this fight and in case you’ve missed some of the national coverage here is a little summary of the news clips!
- Good Morning America
- ABC News
- CBS News
- Fox News
- NBC Nightly News
- USA Today
- UK Daily Mail
- Chicago Tribune
If you or anyone you know is adversely affected by the consumption of artificial food dyes we’d love to hear your story below. And before I let you go I thought a few of you may be interested in getting a link to my homemade mac and cheese recipe (it’s what we had for dinner tonight)…enjoy! :)
149 thoughts on “Kraft Petition Update”
I saw this today on Kraft’s website while I was checking the nutrition information. I “guess” this is some progress…
towards my previous post and the people who commented- I am not “justifying it” Im just saying you’re wasting your time fighting one company. And i DO agree with the person who said we must take it one step at a time and Im not saying they should truly fight it Im saying they should do one of these ridiculous posting links towards the FDA or they should go start a walk or something.
When I was pregnant with my second child I started to have constant migraines. I was told that after I had my baby they should stop. Well my baby turned 1 and I was still having constant migraines. Also my baby girl that was now eating real food, was constantly covered with hives from head to tow and the doctors had no answers for me. I could no longer live with the constant pain and I was tired of taking medication. So I started to do some of my own research I found that allergies could cause migraines (My doctors had never mentioned that). I did not regularly eat most of the things that caused migraines except for food dye. So I decided to try going with out it for a month. By the end of the first week having no food dye in my home my migraines were gone. Even better my baby no longer had rashes. My older child’s behavior had improved tons. I had always had a hard time learning and all of the sudden I could understand what I was reading. Going from a dyslexic mess to reading and enjoying it has been amazing for me. I curse the government for allowing such filth in are food.
Unfortunately I read this post after purchasing pre-natal vitamins. In my PRE NATAL vitamins, I found in the ingredient list both red dye # 40 and yellow dye # 6. Obviously there is no cosmetic benefit for dying a vitamin and I am very disturbed that these ingredients would be included in something doctors recommend women take before, during, and even after pregnancy!
I really couldn’t care less what the put in their product, as long as it is accurately listed on the box. I don’t eat it, but I don’t eat many products for the same reason I wonder why this mac and cheese has been singled out. Kraft and Walmart don’t exist to take care of our health, they exist to make money. That’s what businesses do.
Since Kraft hasn’t replied, you need to go to their largest customer with your concerns: Wal Mart. Ask Wal Mart to take it off the shelf. Wal Mart represents so much about food for the masses, and the Wal Mart consumer is also a core user base of Kraft Mac n Cheese. Wal Mart will care.
I appreciate the suggestion, but the reality is that Wal-Mart (nor any other grocery store) will want to fight this fight because 80% of the foods on their shelves likely contain artificial dyes.
I am not able to sign your petition. When I go to the site that is linked the box to sign up flashes on my screen for a few seconds then disappears. I have tried multiple times so sign. I will attempt to sign it from a different computer tomorrow.
I cannot thank you enough for doing this. My son is 3 years old and has adverse reactions to food dyes. I just watched the Dr. Oz clip and I applaud you. Something has to be done about this.
I am so sad that I have given this stuff to my children without the knowledge of what was in it and what it was made from. Thank you so much for checking into this and giving out this informations. I am so glad I watch Dr. Oz everyday. I can not thank you enough.
Just saw clips from your Dr. Oz appearance. Awesome job! Way to go.
Thank you, thank you..for posting this..Dr.Oz is my favorite..will watch this tonight..I taped it..thank you for sharing all the Kraft info with us. I don’t by prepackaged foods any longer, but I will inform my son that this product is toxic!!! This is what he feeds my grand children..
thank you again
your a blessing to us all..
Thank you for this post. This is somthing I always wondered. Why do we add all these food dyes and other chemicals to our food?? especially when they are so harmful to us. I signed the petition. :)
Thank you again!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I’ve been complaining for over 10 years about artificial colorings, primarily in kids food. My first complaint is with RED DYE #40, which is in all kids food products, cold products etc. (i havent read enough of your blog to see what all you have written.) I can personally atest to the red dye link with my son. Years ago I contacted the FDA, wrote letters, made phone call,etc, I was surprised at how clueless they truely are. Although some children are more sensitive than others, (mine), unless you have experienced it, it is hard for others to comprehend. Anyway, I am so glad you got the attention that is so well deserved. Our food industry is pretty much poisoning us…..and I am not a health food kind of person:)
Dr Oz tomorrow! That is SO awesome, Lisa!!! Great for the Kraft/dye/food justice cause, AND for your wonderful 100 Days cause!!! SO happy for you and the information you spread :)
Have you thought about teaming up with these ladies?
Thank you for advocating for our families! I am amazed at how many products contain artificial ingredients, so sad and scary. Spreading the word to bring more and more attention to this important issue. Thank you!
Nice. They start with a commercial for Kellogg’s, another company that targets children with their dye-laiden foods. I commend Kellogg’s for trying to help kids who might otherwise go hungry, but it also seems like a great way to earn future customers who will keep buying their products. Then they have a bit with a doctor who says he sees nothing harmful regarding these dyes, and then put it up against Lisa, “just a mom.” You may not have a degree or specific training, but you’ve done a lot of research and have a lot of experience, as is evidenced by your blog. Yes, I still do my own research against what I read on your blog. That’s only common sense. I still don’t understand why some people can’t understand your argument…that even if the chance of these dyes is very small or non-existent, there’s so reason (not for flavor, not even coloring) to keep them in our food products. I know, I’m preaching to the choir on this point!
I will sign the petition. Kraft won’t change this unless they are significantly hurt by this movement. That’s the psychology of capitalism. They will take the brunt of this and hope that people will eventually jump on the next media frenzy bandwagon while forgetting about Kraft. Don’t get me wrong, I hope it works. The US deserves better.
I get severe migraines from dyes and msg (among other things). I have since age 12 so I have cut out many things from my diet – happily. So my son who is now 7 has never had many dyes. We went to a Christmas party this past December and my son had a fake sugary green drink. He only had a couple of sips and didn’t like it. He drinks milk and water and apple juice once in a while so was not something he was use to. It was something like a kool aid – which we will never have in the house since that was what I had when I experienced my first migraine. Well we do not know for sure what caused it, but my son ended up in the ER with severe allergice reaction to something. Hives covered his body and ended up hindering his breathing. It was horribly scary. We now carry around an epi pen and he will never have dyes again. We don’t know it was that, but he didn’t have anything else differnt and the hives started a few minutes after he tried the drink. So I am a firm believer that dyes are horrible and should not be in foods. Yes – you can make the choice – but you can’t be there every second to control what your child eats. I wish I could….Thanks for doing this!
Maybe try a petition for non-GMO ingredients if they stop using the dyes…
Thank you for the suggestion – I wish GMO labeling was required – but we are not turning into full time food activists! I do plan to start a community portion of the website though which will allow people to get together around such topics.
I like this petition because there are alot of families that either don’t know of the harmful effects of food dyes (I certainly didn’t just a year ago!!) or don’ care and in which case their children would at least be getting something slightly better (since they don’t have a say!). Sure, there are other brands to support, but I’m guessing that’s not the issue here. It’s about taking it out of things and if the biggest player does so, it will set in motion a new wave, I would assume!!
Look, I LOVE 100 Days of Real Food. As a family of 12 that eats as organically and locally, we really do love this blog, but fighting Kraft is a waste of energy. Better to lead everyone to support other, healthier options like Annie’s. If we can increase their market share they can bring prices down to where Kraft HAS to listen or lose the blue box dominance they enjoy. Why not support a company that already acts ethically rather than try to fix this one (in a LONG list of egregious behavior) brand?
I just want to say that it’s not just kids with issues. I’m a grown woman, with a severe, life threatening allergy to MSG (and all derivatives, including anything “autolyzed”, “hydrolyzed”, or containing guanylates) and food dyes (particularly red 40). People rarely or never hear of actual medical issues with additives – “cancer causing” is far from immediate, and “headaches” or “hyperactivity” can seem so vague, could be dismissed as unrelated. But I doubt I’m the only person in the US who could DIE if they ate an artificially colored product, or one containing MSG or it’s MANY hidden derivatives. Avoiding food additives isn’t an academic or moral decision for me, and I don’t consider a desire to keep a processed food as it is, more important than my desire to not be afraid that the food I eat might kill me. No, I can’t eat very many Kraft foods. But real food or not, I wish I could! I sincerely hope people who don’t have food allergies could consider that asking companies to remove artificial additives from products isn’t just a moral argument, and that there ARE real people, who experience real and immediate negative consequences of exposure to these additives.
Thank you for all you do! I follow both your blog and foodbabe. Thank you for educating the public with accurate information from a reasonable point of view. You are standing up for those who can not stand up for themselves or know any different. Just not buying the product is not enough because the people that know better are far outnumbered by those who don’t. This is about educating the public, not just getting a food company to change their ways. I think it’s completely ridiculous that they can’t or don’t use the same formula as the UK.
Well, I guess in a way that was pretty much expected. After all, this is instant food your talking about. And if you think about it, Kraft was never all that healthy to begin with anyway. If you have kids, it is definitely better to do the cooking yourself- and I don’t mean just popping stuff in the microwave. Sure, it will take much more time, but at least you will have peace of m ind and know exactly what you put into the meals your serving.
While I would never feed my child Kraft. I have family who feed their child kraft! People I care about innocent children, and ignorant people who don’t know better! I hope they do take it out!
I do not agree with the Mac & Cheese being unsafe. It may not be healthy for you but if it was unsafe the FDA would pull the dye from the market. If you do not like the original Mac & Cheese buy one of the other M&C products that do not contain Yellow Dye 5 & 6. I truly believe you have two women seeking their 15 minutes of fame by being on every network news program. Why don’t they spend their time fighting hunger. Oh, that is what Kraft is doing with their donations to food depositories.
Jackie – As if we could predict that every major news network would pick up this story! We put the petition up on change.org and mentioned it on Facebook. The ensuing media frenzy just goes to show how important this issue is to the public. As Lisa’s husband I can squarely tell you fame is NOT at all what she wants. But Lisa is enduring constant interviews and personal disruption to her normal life to get the message out because this is a message she believes in.
Your statement that “it may not be healthy for you but if it was unsafe the FDA would pull the dye from the market” is quite an understandable opinion to take…we used to think the same thing. Unfortunately the FDA is heavily lobbied by the food industry. I highly recommend you read Melanie Warner’s book “Pandora’s Lunchbox” to gain more perspective.
Really??? You think they’re only after their 15 minutes of fame??? Dye is not safe in any food. HOw would it be more unsafe for the FDA to pull them??? What negative consequences would that bring? I can’t think of anything.
Actually, The FDA is controlled by lobbyists (read the book “Food Politics” by Marion Nestle). Foods are approved for consumption UNLESS they have been proven unhealthy. And, seriously, what company is going to fund a study that proves their food additive is unhealthy. In Europe products have to be proven HEALTHY/safe for consumption before they are approved.
I am passionate about healthy food, so I make most everything my family eats from scratch with real ingredients. Not every every child’s parents have the time, financial resources, knowledge or frankly motivation to make food from scratch. For those children, dye free Kraft Mac and Cheese is a step in the right direction. I used to teach in an elementary school with over 50% free and reduced breakfast and lunch. I would have loved to see the kids actually getting nutritious food. Fruit loops, chocolate milk and the like are NOT healthy. It may fill them up, but with empty carbs, that leave them hungry soon after. I knew so many children with ADD/ADHD, I would have loved to see how/if a diet free of artificial colors would have benefited them.
I am tryingto sign the petition but it keeps disappearing from the page…thoughts?
This is the first I’ve heard of anyone having trouble…maybe try a different browser or computer? Here is the link https://www.change.org/petitions/kraft-stop-using-dangerous-food-dyes-in-our-mac-cheese.
We have been on an adventure for the last few years as we have noticed trouble with our son. His terrible 2 seemed almost out of this world. As his mother I was deeply emotional about the struggles of my child. I felt that he was an outcast. Soon to be labeled as a problem child or ADHD or ADD or something worse. I know that there are children out there with real ADHD and ADD issues and I just knew that my son didn’t have those symptoms, but he did mirror many of them. With much faith I listened to my heart and fought with the world about what I allowed to impact our diets. It is TOUGH!! Sabotage around every corner. It has paid off. My son shows signs of Sensory processing disorder. Removing the dyes, fillers, and artificial sugars, and HFCS has made a WORLD of difference. Thank you for starting this campaign. Awareness is the first step to combat this terrible crisis. We are the keepers of the children. Everyone deserves a great childhood.
I am absolutely astounded at the number of products that have artificial flavor, color, additives, preservatives and corn syrup (high fructose and otherwise). And I agree that this whole thing is about education, because before last year I saw no reason to read ingredients lists, thinking things like “well it says low fat right on the box” or “it’s sugar free, it has to be good for you” but what really bothers me is that in other countries things are healthier and US companies even amid all the media hype about the obesity epidemic, refuse to look at their own products as part of the way to change things. Signed the petition! :D
Just trying to point out the bigger picture that goes beyond individual families. As JMSH has pointed out that Lisa does not eat Kraft either. It might be best to read the full article before taking time to post a comment. The part that I referenced above is also IN the article/post, NOT the comment section. If you read it you will see what I mean.
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