Kraft Petition Update

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!).

Kraft Yellow Food Dye Petition - 100 Days of Real Food

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’s Response

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!

press coverage2

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! :)

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149 thoughts on “Kraft Petition Update”

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  1. Thank you for doing this! My husband and I recently decided to remove anything that contains artificial food dyes from our young son’s diet. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, and his parents put him on Ritalin. He was forced to take it for over 10 years, and he experienced some very negative side effects including difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, etc. If they’d only changed his diet he probably would have been fine without medication, but his parents fed him junk and didn’t know any better. We eat pretty healthy now – still improving – and I’ve followed your blog for a year now. This morning I discovered that my son’s vitamins contain every food dye under the sun. I wanted to stop his vitamin consumption after realizing he didn’t need them since he eats fairly well, but now we definitely will. Insane that companies put artificial food dyes in anything, let alone vitamins! I’ll be returning our half-empty bottle to Meijer for a refund.

  2. Hi Lisa and Vani! This is incredible and YES, my daughter in particular was enormously impacted by artificial food color and additives. She suffered from both sensory processing and ADHD symptoms for a year and a half. I systematically removed the colors and preservatives and saw a HUGE improvement in her behavior and ability to concentrate within days of the removal. Specifically, my husband I now realize that her itchy feet and hands was caused by the artificial colors. For if she “cheats” and has something with the food dye in it, she has itchy feet within an hour of ingesting it. We thought it some kind of weird fungus that would come and go!!!! We took our diet change a step further and removed gluten and dairy. Within 2.5 weeks, she was symptom free. Nothing short of a miracle. I first learned of removing artificial color and additives from a friend who had successfully helped her son with ADHD. Thank heavens for word of mouth as this is not something doctors talk about freely. Unfortunately, there are no “double-blind” studies out there to point us in this real food change direction as a viable option for parents wanting to help their kids in school. I tried this because I figured, WHAT DO I HAVE TO LOOSE? My time, more cooking in the kitchen….it was hard to do, but it was the best thing I have ever done in my life. My entire family has improved health, waistlines and energy. We are trying to spread the word about real food as far & wide as we can. It may not help every child out there as much as it did my Abbie, but what if…just what IF it could? I’m looking forward to finding out. Every family I know who has followed suit and stuck to this, is seeing huge, incredible benefits within weeks of the food change and I’m just so excited about it all. Thank you so very very much for this petition…the waterfall is happening girls. So happy to be a part of it all. xoxo

  3. When you last posted about the U.K. having different ingredients than the U.S., I wrote to Mcdonalds and general mills about it. I asked them why they didnt use the better ingredients here in the U.S., especially since they were already doing it overseas. They both responded about the same: all their ingredients are FDA approved and safe so they dont need to change anything here. Approved does not equal safe so I will continue to not buy those products with questionable ingredients.

  4. As a matter of principle I don’t like that Kraft provides the US with a different version than elsewhere. But with or without chemical dyes Kraft mac & cheese is not healthy any way you look at it. Rather than fighting Kraft I would send them a message by not buying their foods. You can get “healthier” versions of this dish made by Amy’s or Trader Joe’s or you can make your own from scratch. better yet – skip mac & cheese. Nutritionally it has nothing going for it.

    1. This petition and the coverage it has gotten sends a MUCH stronger message than a few people simply not buying the product. And it will enact change much more quickly. That is the point. “Just don’t buy it” is far too simplistic. Yes, you should also send a message by refusing to buy the product, but they honestly won’t know the difference. The impact in sales will be too low and if they notice it at all they won’t know why. This petition makes it incredibly clear why and brings awareness to a large number of parents who would never have known it was an issue. And that is the point, which so many still seem to miss.

    2. I would agree that Mac and Cheese has little to no nutritional value and I don’t eat it personally (gluten free, and I don’t like the “fake” stuff). But I teach in a city where I know a lot of my kids are lucky to get kraft mac and cheese for dinner. There is no one at home who can make it from scratch, or can afford to. So I signed for my kids, food they can afford, or they can make themselves (every high schooler can use a microwave) shouldn’t be making them sick.

  5. Signed!! Thank you for doing this. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve bought Kraft Mac and Cheese, but I think it is so important for companies to know that the US holds their foods to the same standards as other countries. I’ve never understood why companies sell one product without the chemicals right next to the one with. Why not just sell the natural versions. I don’t think people will say, “I really miss those artificial colors and HFCS.”

    1. I think people are finally waking up to what has been done to the American people by food processing companies that are more interested in profits than health. Admittedly they are in a bind because they are publically traded companies that must respond to the forces of the stockmarket (i.e, show growth each quarter). When the head of Pepsico tried to start producing more healthy products, she was shot down by the major stockholders because Pepsico lost market share to its nemesis CocaCola.
      But if much of the blame can be assigned to processed foods having caused the obesity epidemic which has led to diabetes and heart disease epidemics, and people will start eating the way their grandparents and great-grandparents did, then these giant companies will have no choice but to respond to market dynamics. For many it is very hard to get off of the “convenience” and “fast food” trains, but IT CAN BE DONE with only a modicum of effort.

  6. signed the petition! and also posted about the petition on my blog ( and Facebook page. While I dont eat things like Kraft Mac-n-Cheese; I know so many Americans (mainly CHILDREN!) do and I want to see this outcry turn into a new standard for our country’s food.

    way to go! keep up the good work!

  7. It keeps giving me an error when I try to sign it, but I will keep trying! :) I am all for getting artificial stuff out of our foods! I am especially against food dyes since my niece and nephew are allergic to them! Great job with this, and thank you! :)

  8. I agree that artificial flavoring and dyes should be taken out of foods. I am a mother to a son with extreme food allergies and another son who has ADHD. They both do so much better when they do not consume foods with dye in them. However; I do believe that we are targeting the wrong group. Shouldn’t we be singing a petition to get the FDA to change their guide lines? The FDA is the one who approves company’s like Kraft to use these harmful chemicals. I do hope that Kraft will voluntarily take the chemicals out and that other company’s will follow, but the FDA needs to make the change too.

  9. I have a severe sensitivity to yellow #5. If it comes in contact with my skin, I get hive and welts wherever the product touched. If I eat it, I get hives on my face and sores in my mouth. I can only imagine the effect that this is having internally. I have spent most of my life having to read packages for ingredients and, eventually just began making most things from scratch. Sorry Kraft (and other packaged food companies), you lost my business.

  10. I think this is great and needed. I saw a kraft spokesperson say that they only use products that are deemed safe by the FDA. So should this be directed to the FDA? They can make the change mandatory.

    1. Lisa – That is a natural conclusion and great question. The food industries lobbying power over the FDA is very, very strong, so we are focusing on something more attainable. We are asking Kraft to be a leader in making this change, and they could come out in a very good light if they do – much like Whole Foods and their recent move to voluntarily label GMOs by 2018.

  11. Over the last few months I have slowly been changing our eating style. While we never ate terribly, we still indulged in some things that were chocked full of preservatives, artificial flavors and dyes. My middle son was diagnosed with ADHD a year and a half ago and two of my kids suffer with eczema. I started eliminating dyes and noticed a huge difference in my son. I also have seen changes in my other children as we have continued to make changes (less outbreaks of eczema, better bowels (sorry-TMI) and better behaviors). As I continue to make changes, it just makes me even more upset that we can list the harmful side effects on medications (and their commercials) but not on food that people consume.

  12. Awesome job bringing this issue out into the open! My 20 month old daughter has a sensitivity to food dye, specifically red 40, but I’ve tried to eliminate all of it from our diets. I can control what they eat at home, but not at school, and sometimes not even at grandma’s house. They’re not as diligent about reading labels as I am or they just forget. The dyes serve no purpose in our food, have harmful side effects in some people, and are even outlawed in other countries. So why does the government still allow it in our main food supply?

  13. Oh, and thank you for this! I worry about how all of the harmful additives in our food may have harmed my generation, and I really hope we can protect our children and grandchildren and give them safe, healthy choices!!

  14. I have to admit that I’m not excited about Kraft’s reply. The point isn’t just to have offerings without artificial colors (which several commenters have said they can’t find anyway), but to remove this completely unnecessary ingredient from their products altogether. Yes, having a few offerings without the dyes is a good start, but Kraft seems to feel this is enough. I think it’s a weak response that allows Kraft to give the impression they are taking the high road without making any changes to their products and continuing to proliferate our food supply with harmful chemicals. The real kicker is that Kraft already knows how to make their products without these dyes, so it wouldn’t be a complete “do over.”

  15. Thank you so much for what you are doing. Having a very picky eater at home, I’d love to be able to offer the foods she really likes and know that they’re not filled with chemicals and dyes that are so damaging to her. It’s time to stand up to these companies and demand the chemical, dye-free food that we all deserve!

  16. I agree with the above responses. Obesity is a huge problem in this country due in part to our food quality. My son has adhd problems and we have found it’s worse if he has processed food (especially dyes) and so we stick to whole foods. I would next like to see some action against putting corn syrup in EVERYTHING. Thank-you for educating people, let’s keep spreading the awareness and making change!

  17. Ignore the haters or people who don’t understand. True, we don’t have to buy it, but we also deserve the same “rights” as the folks in the UK. We need all the garbage taken out of our food. It is hard to change 30 year old habits but it is my goal to try and make slow changes to my family’s eating habits and bring an awareness to them. The folks at Kraft and others won’t be “messing things up” for the rest of the people they can only help improve the quality of the food we eat.

    Keep on Keepin’ on Ladies! You rock!

  18. Reading some of the comments on the Yahoo article and others is so frustrating! People either did not take time to read the article or simply cannot fathom why people who do not buy or use the product would want to hold food corporations accountable for their shady business practices. Thank you for exposing this issue.

  19. And you ladies remind me of why I typically don’t comment on articles – you can’t say anything without someone getting their panties in a wad.

  20. After speaking with my doctor I was put on a diet to avoid processed food amd artificial colors to avoid migraines. It’s actually been working great and ot does make ot harder to find foods without these in a rush. I’m glad to see someone stepping up to change the food in America!

  21. I saw this discussed on Kyra Phillips noon show on HLN yesterday with a panel of 3 others I didnt recognize! Although she mentioned the concerns behind the petition, I was disappointed how they seemed to disregard the seriousness of the issue laughing it off while stating whats wrong with having it every now & then and the big one was why not just make homemade if you dont like …. Thought they totally missed the point and lost the opportunity to inform! However, I am so thankful I found your blog … You are making a difference and I (along with thousands of others) support you leading this effort! Thank you! Missi

  22. My son loves macaroni and cheese and before I started doing research on the foods we eat I had no idea that so many foods had artificial dyes or that it could affect my child. He had bad migraines since kindergarten and the neurologist never even suggested food dyes. After trials with numerous medications with no relief for him I began my own research I found your site among others and began eliminating dyes and serving more whole foods. He has now been medication free for his migraines for 4 months just by eliminating dyes.

  23. I am pregnant now and it scares me to think this processes unnatural crap food is what is being fed to our children. It is time for Americans to take a stand against processed unnatural foods!

  24. My son gets migraines and we traced it back to food coloring. My youngest gets hyper and out of control when he has them. We also notice that after a weekend at the grandparents both boys have to detox.They are an emotional wreck, crying, and fighting after a trip to see them (they don’t follow the guidelines we set with food).

  25. Thank you so much for bringing much needed attention to this huge issue! My son is sensitive to all chemicals. At first, this was a big challenge to change our lifestyle. Now, I see him as a huge blessing to our family. He allowed me to have wide opened eyes to what is in our food and our family doesn’t eat any of the processed junk anymore. I love your blog and I hope this campaign helps all of the families and children who are just not aware!

  26. Julie Heim Jackson

    I would LOVE to see artificial dyes removed from the US food stream! Please keep up the work you are doing and the pressure you’re putting on the industry. This is how change happens! THANK YOU!

  27. Thanks for doing this we signed right away. My daughter is very sensitive to these dyes and we see behavior changes almost immediately after she eats them. They are in everything! Even things that are surprising like pie shells.

  28. I’m appreciative of all the attention being brought to this issue. So, so many people don’t understand the direct correlation between chemicals in their food and cancer, obesity, ADHD…it’s time this was brought to the forefront.

    1. Tiffany,

      That solves the problem for your family and other families that are educated about the dangers of artificial dyes but not for those who do not know. Did you read the full posting? In the section “Some of the Comments:”

      Some people responded”
      “Then just don’t buy it”

      Lisa’s response:
      “FYI – Just for the record we don’t buy it and happen to care about more than just ourselves.”

      1. Sorry, I don’t have to time to actually scroll through and read all the comments. I apologize that my comment was not to your liking.

      2. 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.

  29. My son is autistic, he as many others herefore mentioned
    Can’t tolerate food dyes or ANY additives. We eat heirloom
    Grains, produce and meat/dairy due to this. The plight of American
    Farmers to be allowed to grow and sell wholesome products
    Without having to go trough large corporations needs to be addressed
    We won’t have wholesome foods until they can be grown and sold directly to the

  30. Do you know anything about the products Kraft sells in Germany? Do they contain artificial food dye as well?

  31. My two youngest sons cannot tolerate artificial food color. They get headaches, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nosebleeds (only my youngest) difficulty breathing (my middle child) and display many of the behavioral issues mentioned by others here. The personality change is drastic! Very similar to ADD/ADHD. They feel so poorly when they eat foods with artificial dyes that they both very carefully avoid any suspicious foods on their own. They also react to artificial flavor, sodium benzoate, and high fructose corn syrup. It is very hard to avoid all of these additives, they are in everything, and not just food items. We check toothpaste (even in the dentist’s office) and medications, too.
    Thank you so much for all of your hard work! It is already so much easier to find additive free foods than it was 10 years ago! I think we are moving in the right direction, thanks to hard working women like you!!

  32. I wondered why my 5 year old son had many more behavior meltdowns than my daughter, but “boys will be boys”, right? Then last summer I did some research on ADD and ADHD, started noticing a connection to foods with dye in them and his behavior, and we cut them out. He is able to focus better at school and can control his behavior. As a six grade teacher, I started watching what my students were eating. Although it is not exact, there is a definite correlation between those students who are eating whole foods and those students who are eating packaged foods and their consequent behavior the rest of the day in class. We need to change what our children eat and it starts with making the food companies realize we are serious!

    1. I think that some children are more sensitive to food additives than others. My two oldest children have never reacted to food dyes, while my two youngest do.

  33. I’m super excited that you’re doing this! I’ve passed it on alot! Is there a reason why it’s 200,000 “signatures” required? why not shoot for a million!?

  34. My 5 year old daughter to reacts negatively to most artificial additives. It took us two years to figure it out. We knew food dyes were one because she would get a rash. But like others have posted, the symptoms are mostly behavioral, and she would also have nightime leg pain, trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and horrible behavior. The bad behaviors…agression, short fuse, could not tolerate any injustice, etc last for 72 hours, then goes away. As long as i keep things out of her diet, she is good and no leg pain. Basically anything in a box or package, we cant buy. It is very frustrating for sure!

  35. stefanie Kennedy

    Thank you so much for sharing this information! Even if nothing comes from your petition (hopefully not the case!) at least people are more aware of what is really in their food. Small steps lead to big rewards!