We Deserve Better: Tell Kraft To Stop Using Dangerous Artificial Colors in Our Mac & Cheese

Hi there, this is Lisa Leake from 100DaysofRealFood.com and Vani Hari from FoodBabe.com. We recently discovered that several American food products contain harmful additives that are not used – and in some cases banned – in other countries. One of those products is an iconic staple that almost every American, us included, has had at one time or another: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

In the US, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains the artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These unnecessary – yet potentially harmful – dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry. Kraft reformulated their product for the UK, but not for their fellow American citizens, and it’s time we demand the same here in the US!

We are petitioning Kraft to remove all artificial food dyes
from their line of macaroni and cheese products.

Kraft Yellow Food Dye Petition - 100 Days of Real Food

Kraft Foods is the largest food company headquartered here in the United States. If Kraft changes their Macaroni and Cheese formula, we know this could inspire other US food companies to follow suit and finally eliminate dangerous artificial food dyes once and for all.

Here are the reasons why Kraft needs to remove Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 from their entire line of Macaroni and Cheese:

Artificial food dyes…

To prove this last point we personally tested both the US and UK versions of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and found little difference in color and virtually no difference in taste (see for yourself in the video below).

So please…

  1. Go to our petition page and sign your name.
  2. Share our petition with your family and friends!
  3. Watch our video below to learn more about our mission (and see us taste test the two different mac & cheese products ourselves).

We both grew up eating this product – I even used to feed it to my kids – and it’s available at almost every grocery store across the country. Our kids deserve the same safer version that our friends get overseas!

Join us and demand this change by signing this petition now.

Thank you for all your support – together we can make a difference.

Now might be a good time to check out our homemade macaroni and cheese recipe!

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

206 thoughts on “We Deserve Better: Tell Kraft To Stop Using Dangerous Artificial Colors in Our Mac & Cheese”

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  1. I’m glad to see that you made tonight’s news on KOLO-8 here in Reno, NV. What you say seems to have been largely forgotten by so many although today’s young mothers looking to feed the best to their children are usually the first to take the lead when it comes to feeding their families! As for us, when I am not in the mood for ‘scratch’ cooking I buy Annie’s Organic Shells and Real Aged Cheddar because there are no fake ingrdients and it tastes better than Kraft any day of the week!

    As a child in the 1970’s I remember the big scares about artificial dyes such as red dye and others such as tartrazine, preservatives BHA & BHT, nitrates, nitrites etc. including flame retardant, plastics and non-stick coatings such as teflons (yes, all plastics ‘outgas’ and are endocrine disruptors see http://thyroidu.com/1204/thyroid-health-is-tupperware-bpa-free-and-safe-to-use/ ) The so called ‘baby boomer’ generation is supposedly the most ‘preserved’ because our bodies have the highest concentrations of ‘yesterday’s chemicals’ when the USA was really at its stride in terms of manufacturing ‘new and improved’ and ‘space age’ foods-remember Tang the powdered orange drink of astronauts? ‘New and improved by science’ is not always best but overall if it wasn’t for science constantly discovering the facts concerning toxicity of both natural and manmade ingredients we wouldn’t have the knowledge or ability to determine the best options as time goes by.

  2. I used to buy that stuff, but we wanted to eat healthier. Of course the kids still want their favorite foods, so we just make a healthier homemade Mac ‘n’ cheese version. It doesn’t take that much longer to make it. I have it memorized now and the kids love it. Just cook a box of whole grain (or GF) pasta and make some cheese sauce and stir it up. We have made a tofu cheese sauce as well and kids loved it. If I’m in a real hurry, I just use butter and parmesan cheese.

  3. So excited to see you and Vani (Food Babe) on NBC Nightly News tonight about Kraft Mac and Cheese. My husband thought I was crazy when I said “There’s Lisa and the Food Babe” like you were friends. Seems like you are. Thanks for all you do.

  4. I think it’s WONDERFUL that you guys are doing this! Husband heard you on the radio today….and petition is signed!! Good luck!

  5. Why would the writers of this blog try to tell Kraft how to do their business? Because the writers of this blog care about the food that we consume. And they are trying to shine a bright light on two COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY ingredients that are added to a food that is fed to innocent and unsuspecting children by parents who don’t care to read labels. As the incidences of autism, type 2 diabetes and asthma spin out of control in our society, perhaps it is time to stop and consider all of these ingredients that our grandparents or great grandparents probably never consumed. Bravo for 100 Days of Real Food taking on a giant of the food industry! It’s been covered on 2 of the local stations in Pittsburgh today.

  6. Why would anyone come to THIS BLOG and tell the writers and supporters not to tell you what to do, and what not to buy and what not to feed your kids? Why would you be reading this blog “100 days of real food” if you weren’t interested in reducing the amount of processed, packaged food from your diets? I appreciate the information, and the information and ideas provided in this blog. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t complain. I just wouldn’t read it!

    1. Exactly, Cindy! I have to wonder how some of these people who have commented even got to this site as they are clearly not interested in the blog’s purpose- educating about real food. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Wow really? Millions of other bad food and substances out there but this is the one you pick on?

    Millions have died from drug overdose, Violence, War, Cigarettes, Hell…I’m sure more have died from choking on a marble then this..This is what you spend your time on!? The coloring on cheese that you are not forced to buy/eat in the first place?

    Ok…lets just say its because food is your area of expertise..Why Mac/cheese? Why not Soda? It is 10x worse than this.

    1. Your answer is in bold print in the blog post.

      “Kraft Foods is the largest food company headquartered here in the United States. If Kraft changes their Macaroni and Cheese formula, we know this could inspire other US food companies to follow suit and finally eliminate dangerous artificial food dyes once and for all.”

  8. A few years ago, when the school teacher wanted to prove that my son probably needed Ritalin (sp?), my doctor said, there’s nothing wrong with him (thank God). my older son, who was a jr counselor shared that another parent shared Red40 – WOW. since then, no artificial colors; sugars; and anything else i can’t pronounce. i’ve done research and it’s sad that there are ‘APPROVED LEVELS’ for our children’s consumption. give me a break. so guess what, they don’t care then i don’t care to give them my money nor my chldren’s lives. this also goes for stuff that their skin comes in contact with – dough, soap, shampoo, etc. EVERY LABEL IS READ! my son is doing great and an honor student! no meds (i know there are children that need it). so good for you but i agree with others – go for ALL DYES AND PRESERVATIVES AND FAKE SUGAR ETC……

    1. AND when i’m asked for documentation, i just say ‘well, give him pancakes with regular syrup and keep him for 2 DAYS’ or maybe some koolaid. i don’t need any scientific evidence, i proved it in my home and it takes exactly two gruling days

  9. As Always you guys ROCK!!!! I love taking part in these baby steps. I know there is no better proof that processed food is literally killing out society. More cancer, obesity,etc. I’m trying hard to bring back REAL FOOD. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. You guys censored our comment and it was in your favor. So, we agree with your effort, but won’t return to this site.

  11. I love you guys! I’m so thankful for your research and investigations. I’m thankful for the ways you openly share your opinions on issues so that other people can then take those opinions and consequently form their own. Thanks for caring about not only your own kids, but also all the kids who are constantly fed artificial ingredients and for taking the time and HUGE efforts to help them too! There are so many of us who have been blessed by this website and getting to know your family through it!!!!

  12. You realize more people have died from automobiles than ingesting artificial colors? Why do you let Chevy sponsor your blog? Food coloring is dangerous? I just don’t understand why the shock tactics, especially since you don’t even buy the product in question. Sorry, but preying on people’s ignorance so you can make money by blogging just seems sort of creepy to me. BTW the CSPI led the drive to add trans fats to processed foods, so I would take their recommendations with a grain of salt.

    1. Cars are necessary for modern society. Artificial colors are not. This blog was started with no business intentions in mind, although it has grown rapidly and now Lisa and I work on it full time. The petition was started to make a change, not to drive traffic to the blog. Interestingly, despite national news coverage of the petition, there has been no noticeable increase in blog traffic. Yet the petition signatures are now in excess of 155k, which is the point. Here’s CSPI’s view on trans-fats. http://www.cspinet.org/transfat/about.html.

      1. Cars are really not any more necessary than processed food in modern society. I’d even say processed food, which covers everything from pasteurized milk to canned beans to Doritos, are likely more necessary (excepting the Doritos of course). They’re a convenience. Walking, bikes, public transportation… I know CSPI has changed their views on trans fats. This was pre fancy websites circa 1980s or so, but it’s true. CSPI supported replacing saturated fats both animal and vegetable with trans fats. Look up Mary Enig.

    2. Ella Kay, When you have done as much research as 100 Days of Real Food have then you can speak into this with a little more intelligence ;) They are trying to make the public aware, and speak for those who otherwise do not know what is in our food.

      Most people do not understand what the government has allowed in our food source which should be a crime! When obesity, heart disease and cancer is rising as fast as it is, you have to wonder why. I challenge you to research a little deeper you will be appalled as we are. But in the long run it is your choice to take it with a grain of salt.

      Please do not knock the people of 100 days of Real Food. They are only trying to help people not harm them :) I applaud what they are trying to accomplish!

      1. No challenge needed. I speak with the intelligence of several decades of research (including scientific journals) so I’d suggest I might be a tad more informed than bloggers on the internet. :) Artificial colors are no more dangerous (the word I keep reading here) than many naturally occuring chemicals you eat in natural “unprocessed” foods. Look up aflatoxin, acrylamide or heterocyclic amines. I also understand what the government allows in our food. Obesity is from overeating and under exercising, heart disease is diet-related as well as genetic, cancer is from any number of things food, environmental and otherwise, but food additives, particularly artificial colors, are pretty low on the list.
        They may be trying to help, but you know the saying about what’s paved with good intentions.

  13. Phil – We don’t eat it. As an American that values liberty I do understand the “leave my processed food alone…just don’t buy it” argument, but I AM affected by other people’s choices due to increasing health insurance costs. My insurance premium just went up 10% last fall one month after opening the policy. Our request is to remove artificial dyes, not to take away mac and cheese. And this is part of a much bigger picture…read comments above for more info.

    1. You need to first prove that the ingredients in the product are harmful. That has not been done. There is no credible evidence that any of the ingredients in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese produce measurable harmful health effects when consumed in reasonable quantities. Lab animal studies don’t count: They force-feed substances in quantities and concentrations thousands of times higher than one would encounter in normal use. Using such methods, they can “prove” that practically everything in the world is deadly. You’re buying into the nonsense and through this blog are misusing it to harm others. Moreover, just because something has been banned in a nanny-state European country isn’t evidence or proof of anything. The EU has enacted Codex Alimentarius, making ordinary vitamin supplements unavailable to the general public without a doctor’s prescription. Are you going to look to that idiotic model for guidance? Codex Alimentarius will result in unnecessary misery and death for millions of people under the guise of “protecting” them.

      1. Even if the artificial colors turn out to be not harmful, they are completely unnecessary. Why take the chance? I bet if Kraft took out the artificial colors without telling anyone, no one would even notice.

  14. Leave my Kraft Macaroni & Cheese alone. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it and don’t eat it. Stop telling the rest of us what we should be eating or not eating.

    “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    1. Phil, I am a little confused about the Scripture reference that you’ve used. How does it have anything to do with this discussion? It seems to me that these ladies are not be hypocritical. They are concerned about additives in food, stopped feeding them to their families, and are encouraging others to do the same. Where is the “beam in the eye?”

  15. We are a natural-living family and we do our best to avoid dyes, preservatives and a whole lot of things, so I agree that we need to require a lot more of American companies, to include requiring GMO labeling and removing the garbage preservatives inside vaccines. But, to address several comments I saw: making your own ‘healthy’ version of mac ‘n cheese is a misnomer. It’s not healthy. It’s carbs, wheat, and a whole lot of cheese and butter or other fats. If you’re looking to be healthy, perhaps removing the entire meal from your family’s dietary plans would be best. Also, it’s a serious misnomer that low-income people can’t eat healthy. It takes more education and interest than money. There are a ton of blogs out there written by wonderful moms who feed their kids healthy food on food-stamp budgets. It can be done, but everyone needs to take responsibility. I didn’t say it was easy, I am an ex-single mom myself, but it is indeed possible. Our kids deserve it.

  16. So, I made it through one page of comments and I had to stop and say a few things!! First off, WHY ARE PEOPLE ATTACKING THESE PEOPLE? If these additives are unnecessary and harmful, whats wrong with them asking it to be removed? If you do not agree, you are not being forced to sign the petition. Ignore it and move on. Let the people who DO care sign it and share it! No wonder we haven’t seen the change here…. look at all the ignorance in these comments…. I doubt its costing these companies much more to reformulate these products just a little bit, and if I am wrong, show me research and proof. The product looked no different to me in the video, and well sadly taste is not a feature on a computer screen.

    My other comment would be to those attacking the people that do choose to eat this product/feed it to their kids… While I do love to make my mac & cheese homemade, I am a stay at home mother of 3 children under 5 years of age. Those children take a lot of focus and attention. They take a lot of work and devotion. Making it homemade takes more time for me. I cut corners some days simply because I am tired. They love mac and cheese homemade and from the box… am I a bad mother because some days I just want to throw some noodles from a box into boiling water, drain, then mix the cheese, butter and milk together? Is it so bad that I would like a safer and still quick option for my kids?

    1. completely agree with you comment Lea. I cannot believe the negativity in so many of these comments. Especially the ones saying to leave Kraft alone and let them run their business the way they want. It’s like practice what you preach and let these people run their blog and lives the way they want. It’s a free country and they are only trying to help people, even those that are too ignorant to read the labels on the processed junk they are eating. Sheesh!

  17. Great job, ladies! I really hope your efforts motivate people to be more educated about the food industry and what goes on. It is so depressing sometimes when you think about all the lies and misdirection consumers are given all in the name of profit for these big corporations. I often wonder what the heads of these companies feed their families? We really need the FDA to step it up and be properly funded, and not staffed by former executives from these corporations! Someone has to watch out for consumers and it’s up to us to make that change. Keep up the good work!

  18. My husband passed this link to me for research. We too grew up on Mac and Cheese. In Canada, it is called Kraft Dinner and there are many varieties…whole wheat, creamier, etc. The ingredients only say “colour”…Tartrazine…a petroleum based food color. Thanks! I’m off to sign the petition.

  19. Amazing to see the momentum this is getting. I signed and shared the petition early on, and today the story was all over our local news in VA as well as the news radio station. Great work!!!

    1. What does this mean? 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. Please enlighten me on your comment. Thanks!

      1. i get tired of a of people who don’t and think that everyone should feel the same. who feel they have a right to tell a bus. how to make a product. i have no problem with what kraft does

  20. This seems a little silly to me. If people cared what their children were eating, there are plenty of Mac and cheese alternatives for their kids.
    King Arthur flour sells a powdered cheddar that you can make the same Mac and cheese for much cheaper (and flexibility with pasta shapes etc). And like cheddar cheese is supposed to be, it’s white.
    Who thinks that orange cheese is natural?! Milk is white!

    1. This is not about the Mac and Cheese! This is about protecting the children of our country. At a minimum we deserve the same that other children around the world are receiving. Kraft is aware of the dangers of this product and has reformulated this product and others in countries where people care about ALL children, not just their own. Please stand up for the children that don’t have a voice – whether or not you feed this product to your children is irrelevant. And you are right, no one thinks this product is natural. I wish this was silly, but this issue is very, very serious.

  21. Really?!? If you don’t want your kids eating it, here’s an idea: “Don’t buy it!”

    Stop trying to run other peoples lives and change things for people that have no problem with it. Maybe if you spent as much time with your kids and family instead of blogging, Macaroni and cheese wouldn’t even be a thought in your mind! Get a life!

    1. Wow! I am shocked and saddened by the negativity of your post. I completely agree that homemade is always best and I have never made this product for my family. However, I do recognize that there are many families that use this product and feed it to their children. Children that have no choice but to eat what is given to them. In all cases, I think the parents mean well and assume the food is safe. It is NOT safe and it is NOT okay to have these products on our shelves. I have to ask, Do you understand this issue? Do you think Europeans deserve better than Americans? Kraft has made these simple changes abroad. I am thrilled to see someone fighting for the health of our nation. In the end, whether you eat homemade or boxed everyone of us in affected. The illnesses caused by our food contribute greatly to the rising costs of our healthcare – costs that reach you directly through increases in medical insurance, increases in medical costs and increases in taxes. If we don’t demand healthy food for ourselves, who will? I would also like to mention that this site is devoted to teaching people how to eat healthy and homemade. Clearly you do not use this site and have no real interest in teaching families and protecting children.

    2. Katie – Your comment is rife with inaccurate assumptions about our lives. Yesterday Lisa was volunteering in one of our daughter’s classrooms despite her cell phone blowing up from reporters wanting interviews. Blogging allows us to spend MORE time with our family since we work from home. And we don’t buy it. If you spent any time exploring the blog it would be obvious that mac and cheese IS a thought in our mind because the blog is all about how to cut out processed foods. My reply below to a previous comment addresses your other statements.

      We are concerned about the health of our children and ourselves, and stopped eating mac and cheese out of a box years ago (in addition to virtually all processed foods). Instead we make our own mac and cheese (here is the recipe, which is also at the end of the post). But with this petition we are trying to raise awareness and get people to start reading labels and thinking about what is in their food. It’s a much bigger picture than this specific product, but this is one people can relate to. Food manufacturers lobby the FDA heavily (which relies way too much on industry funded research) so they can formulate their products for maximum profit (within the confines of the regulations they help set up) and to increase consumer demand (they are literally engineered to make you crave them…I know that sounds alarmist and over the top, but it’s true), and this almost always results in products that are of lower quality and nutritional value, and in some cases harmful due to food additives. Some other countries take the precautionary approach where additives are used only after being proven safe, but here in America an amazing number of additives (somewhere around 3,000 to 5,000) are used in the processed food we consume, and these are often added with very little oversight and testing. But the food industry WILL listen to the media and to consumers who vote with their dollars. It’s just a business decision on their end.

      1. “Blogging allows us to spend MORE time with our family since we work from home. ”

        Then maybe you should get a real job, if you feel the need to raise a huge stink about MACARONI AND CHEESE in order to drive traffic to your pathetic blog. Is that what this is? A marketing ploy? You’ll rebel to anything to increase your pageviews?

  22. I admire anyone who stands up for feeding themselves and their family more nutritionally relevant foods however in all due respect this type of comfort food isn’t nutritionally relevant and if you were so concerned about your children’s health you shouldn’t be feeding them food like this that is devoid of nutritional benefits and a diet rich in foods like this can only lead to obesity and possibly turn children into diabetics.

    I applaud you for raising this issue and hopefully more families will cease to buy kraft mac n cheese and if they need to buy this type of food buy a brand that doesn’t have this dye in it.

    We live in a free market society and if they want to make harmful foods yet legal they can and if you want to buy a different brand then you can as well.

    good luck

    1. Hi Bill – We are concerned about the health of our children and ourselves, and stopped eating mac and cheese out of a box years ago (in addition to virtually all processed foods). Instead we make our own mac and cheese (here is the recipe, which is also at the end of the post). But with this petition we are trying to raise awareness and get people to start reading labels and thinking about what is in their food. It’s a much bigger picture than this specific product, but this is one people can relate to. Food manufacturers lobby the FDA heavily (which relies way too much on industry funded research) so they can formulate their products for maximum profit (within the confines of the regulations they help set up) and to increase consumer demand (they are literally engineered to make you crave them…I know that sounds alarmist and over the top, but it’s true), and this almost always results in products that are of lower quality and nutritional value, and in some cases harmful due to food additives. Some other countries take the precautionary approach where additives are used only after being proven safe, but here in America an amazing number of additives (somewhere around 3,000 to 5,000) are used in the processed food we consume, and these are often added with very little oversight and testing. But the food industry WILL listen to the media and to consumers who vote with their dollars. It’s just a business decision on their end.

  23. Why don’t you teach people HOW to make mac and cheese and stop telling companies how to run their business!!!

      1. Whew, you are level-headed and patient in your replies. A lot kinder than I would be! This person clearly didn’t read the entire article.

    1. Wow! I am shocked and saddened by the negativity of your post. I completely agree that homemade is always best and I have never made this product for my family. However, I do recognize that there are many families that use this product and feed it to their children. Children that have no choice but to eat what is given to them. In all cases, I think the parents mean well and assume the food is safe. It is NOT safe and it is NOT okay to have these products on our shelves. I have to ask, Do you understand this issue? Do you think Europeans deserve better than Americans? Kraft has made these simple changes abroad. I am thrilled to see someone fighting for the health of our nation. In the end, whether you eat homemade or boxed everyone of us in affected. The illnesses caused by our food contribute greatly to the rising costs of our healthcare – costs that reach you directly through increases in medical insurance, increases in medical costs and increases in taxes. If we don’t demand healthy food for ourselves, who will? I would also like to mention that this site is devoted to teaching people how to eat healthy and homemade. Clearly you do not use this site and have no real interest in teaching families and protecting children.

      1. Marcie – Thank you for bringing up a very good point. As an American that values liberty I do understand the “leave my processed food alone…just don’t buy it” argument, but I AM affected by other people’s choices due to increasing health insurance costs. My insurance premium just went up 10% last fall one month after opening the policy!

  24. If these dyes are such a well known health risk (and I’m not disputing that), why are you focusing on a petition with Kraft rather than on a petition to President Obama who claims to be so concerned about health & welfare of people? The President has a tremendous amount of influence over the priorities of the FDA which is responsible for collating the research data and setting the healthy boundaries for dyes and other chemical additives in food products. So, why not petition the President?

      1. Isn’t this one of these cases where it is being completely overblown? Stating these ingredients have been linked to cancer, etc. may be true, but it is never mentioned the amount you have to consume to have an issue. I’m guessing it is way more than the “less than 2%” that is contained in mac/cheese. Kind of like Organic being overrated, as I have read many times, the levels of pesticides consumed are extremely low in relation to what would be deemed harmful.

    1. Critical Reader

      The problem is, that the health risks are not as well documented as this article makes you believe. For me as a parent, the current data is enough to not buy stuff with artificial dyes. But for the regulatory agencies, the data is not enough for a ban. After the British Southampton Study back in 2007 both the FDA and the EFSA (European equivalent to the FDA) reacted and re-evaluated some artificial dyes. Both came to the conclusion, that in the amounts allowed and used, this artificial dyes are safe. Unless some striking new data comes out, the agencies are not going to overrule their recent evaluations – no matter, how much political pressure is involved. The only way those dyes out of the food system is by asking the manufacturers to do so. But, a word of warning. If you chase out the artificial dyes, natural dyes will be used and nobody knows if they are any safer.

    1. Great question. We do make our own (recipe is at the end of the post), and that is certainly the best choice. But we are trying to raise awareness and get people to start reading labels and thinking about what is in their food. Food manufacturers lobby the FDA heavily (which relies way too much on industry funded research) so they can formulate their products for maximum profit (within the confines of the regulations they help set up) and consumer demand (they are literally engineered to make you crave them…I know that sounds alarmist and over the top, but it’s true), but they will listen to the media and to consumers who vote with their dollars. It’s just a business decision on their end.

  25. Yellow #5 is also used in another favorite kid food: Vlasic dill pickles.
    For years, the natural spice tumeric has been used in pickles, which imparts a yellow color.
    Why they choose not to use tumeric and instead use Yellow #5 is a mystery to me.
    Add Vlasic pickles to your list.

  26. #firstworldproblems

    Send our dye-tainted macaroni and cheese to some starving African children, I’m sure they wouldn’t complain about yellow 5.

  27. This is the stupidest, most petty petition I have ever seen in my life and you should be ashamed for diverting resources that could be used to effect changes that actually matter. What are you, a teenage boy elbowing his friend to inform him that his mountain dew will shrink his testicles?

    Grow up. If you don’t like it don’t eat it.

    1. Beth you are totally missing the big picture. There are many “bigger” things that would be great to accomplish, but the lobbying power of the food industry on our government is very powerful. This is a baby step to not only hopefully improve a very common product, but to hopefully open peoples eyes along the way and set an example for other companies to follow. And we don’t eat it.

  28. btw.. i also can’t afford 100% organic but i do my best. an apple over a bag of skittles is still best..even if its not organic.


    Why don’t we ban everything? hmm why do we NEED the dye? what purpose does it serve?
    It doesn’t alter the flavor to take it out so why do you care if its in there?
    Also.. the we ate all of that and we were fine is an old and tired argument.
    We also didn’t sit our kid in front of vid games or fb all day but the parents today do.
    Parents back then also use to do a lot of things we no longer do (for the better).
    If you dont like it..dont sign. I am not signing not because of the food dye but because I think with or without the dye.. its a bad food.
    Why not just make your own? Its truly not that hard.. why not give your children real food?

    I find the UK argument to be a dead one as well so i do agree with some of your points but the argument of well our parents ate it and they are fine is actually not always accurate.

    I have learned when people go off like you do its because they feel attacked because they use those things.
    This country is being duped by companies.. I hate being a sucker and they are making us suckers by what they put in our food.
    They also used pesticides all over the food but we now know its best if we don’t use it.
    They have approved fake sugar yet back in the day..people were getting stomach cancer from TAB.
    If you think that everything was mayberry back then, you are in a bubble!
    I don’t like being a sucker and to know they are shoving chemicals into us is just wrong.
    They aren’t telling them to ban mac and cheese but if they are removing the dye for other places, why not us?

  30. I just started reading your blog a few days ago. It is overwhelming to realize how much I didn’t know or just didn’t pay attention to. I have three young children and I feed them this mac and cheese quite often. I knew it wasn’t a health food, but I guess I was very uneducated and maybe a little lazy. I am late to join this group, but I’m happy to be here. I want to thank you for helping me understand all of this! I am excited to start making some changes.
    On a side note, I am SHOCKED that there are people out there who read your blog just to add their own negative comments. Don’t they have anything better to do with their time? If they feel so strongly, why don’t they get their own blogs?

  31. I wrote about my own journey giving up processed food earlier this week and today, I tripped upon your article on Yahoo. I signed your petition and I think we as parents have the power to change how our kids eat, even if that means changing corporate america. Rock on girls!

  32. If you are so concerned about your children’s health, here’s an idea, stop buying it and make your own mac n cheese or anything else you continue to complain about from scratch. As a single mother, I get so embarassed when other “women” complain about how difficult it is to raise kids and the choices that are out there. Maybe you should have thought about that before you had them. And regarding obesity maybe instead of buying your children computers and video games and any other electronic device and cell phones, maybe you shouldn’t buy this stuff and show your kids there are other things to do except be on computers and electronic devices all day. Maybe they should learn how to grow gardens and recycle items instead of buying new. I also was able to work full time and cook home cooked meals on a daily basis, going out to eat was considered a treat. Usually after her basketball and softball games on the weekends. Quit complaining about things that YOU CHOOSE TO BUY AND ALLOW IN YOUR HOMES.

    1. Wow, what a terribly misplaced rant! Do you not read this blog? The writers do not purchase Kraft Mac and Cheese and have made significant contributions to the “Real Food Revolution.” As I see it, petitions like these serve the greater purpose of challenging the actions of Big Food. Why should their US version contain questionable food dyes while their other versions do not?

      1. LOL, let me guess you probably hate animal cruelty but own leather in some capacity…belt, shoes, purse, coat. Take responsibility for what you choose to put on and into your bodies. It’s as simple as that. IF you haven’t read a label until just now and you’re over 18 then the blame shouldn’t only be on the companies making these products. Oh and I have read this blog for quite a while. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything that is said. Plus I only choose to use internet 5 days a month so I don’t get to rant, oh I mean, voice my opinion as much as you guys do.

      2. Huh? What does animal cruelty have to do with anything? I’m not sure who you are directing your arguments at, but from the original post it sounded like it was the blog writers and much of the content had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand (tv? internet? growing gardens?). You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but I am also entitled to point out when they are completely irrelevant and provide nothing to the conversation, thus making them rants. Again, this is not about taking personal responsibility and blaming companies, this is about challenging their shady actions. Making two versions of the same product, one without questionable ingredients, borders on unethical, IMHO. You seem to like calling out other parents for not being as good of a parent as you are, so why shouldn’t other parents call out Kraft for being unethical and shady?

    2. I absolutely agree with you that as parents, we ultimately control what goes in our childrens’ bodies. However, I’m with JMSH-this isn’t just about making individual choices, it is about changing the food culture in the US where parents who can’t make mac and cheese from scratch or can’t afford to buy organic every day have the same options when it comes to nutrition with our children! We as parents need to be prepared to push the corporations to do right by our children whether that is with petitions, buying choices or raising our voices in a chorus to say enough is enough with the processed crap!

  33. I have an even better solution for you than petitioning to change the coloring ingredients of mac and cheese, stop feeding it to your children! Its not healthy and that has very little to do with the color additives. Any sort of boxed macaroni and cheese will, without a doubt, kill you from obesity complications before cancer. Want to be a role model to your children? Give them healthier, homemade food and teach them to actually cook.

      1. OK, congratulations, you’ve solved the color additives dilema and not the fact that mac and cheese is not healthy!
        My point above it that this blog seems to be so concerned with food additives and “toxins”, which have never scientifically been proven harmful, that it forgets about the general health content of food. Despite the popular belief, substituting in whole wheat pasta does not make this recipe any healthier. This recipe still has the same fat and calorie content as before. If you want pasta, eat it with tomato sauce or pesto or a light butter/lemon sauce. In the long run, the complications from obesity will hit you harder and faster than any sort of food additives/preservatives in processed food.

  34. I’ve been a label reader for years. In our household, I try to purchase items without artificial colors. I also try to eliminate dyes, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup and even a natural coloring. Through our own testing by eliminating foods with ingredients, I discovered how much harm these ingredients can do, especially in children. Be aware! Even the Blue 1 in toothpaste and the lovely artificial colors in kid’s vitamins can cause problems. It did with our children. There does not have to be a highly, sophisticated, costly, lengthy testing and studies, to tell me that these ingredients are harmful to everyone. Through the process of elimination did we discover the harmful effects.

    I’ve said to many over the years that the FDA is controlled by big business. Isn’t it nice that we have so many drugs to try to tackle health problems that could have been caused by what we ingest? The big pharm companies are in bed with the Feds as well. Big business is focused on $$$, profits first!!! The petition on Kraft is great, but the buck speaks. For all of you opposed to certain ingredients in your food, change what you do now. DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WITH THOSE INGREDIENTS! See how fast Companies will change their practices when their profits decline. There is freedom of choice. Use it! There is power in numbers. Unite!

    Seriously, studies have shown that we are not a healthy nation. The mortality rate is increasing and for the first time, this aging generation (The Boomers”) health is worse than the prior generation. Obesity, diabetes, ADHD… What do we want for ourselves, our children and for future generations?.

    We deserve better! You have the ability to control your actions in what you purchase and what you and your children eat. Don’t just wait… I didn’t. Do what you can now! You can make a difference!

  35. I read a piece this morning on Yahoo about removing the coloring from Kraft Mac and Cheese. Is nothing sacred anymore? Please leave the M&C alone, Im sure it had brought you nothing but happiness and memories through the years.

    Maybe try picking up a hobby? Golf Perhaps?

    1. I totally agree with you Chris. At this rate, why don’t they just ‘ban’ everything? Let the people decided what they want to consume, not let someone else do it for them. And for all those people who signed the petition because other people ‘don’t know better or can’t afford it’, that’s just making a choice for them. I think a lot of today’s generation and parenting is totally screwed up.

  36. All for getting rid of artificial dies in foods. Have a daughter that is allergic to red 40 and it is amazing what food products have it in it.

    Congrads on taking this story national.

  37. While I’m definitely concerned about the dyes, etc I’m also concerned about the fact Kraft is owned by Pepsi who has teamed up with Senomyx. The president has just approved senomyx’s continued use of using ABORTED FETAL CELLS to product enhancements. This alone should be another reason to NEVER buy processed foods.

  38. Kraft Mac and Cheese isn’t anywhere close to being “real food” whether it has artificial colors/preservatives or not.

      1. Good luck with your efforts. Sadly, I don’t think most people know or care that they are ingesting poison every single day.

      2. No, most people are not aware of the poison they eat.

        That’s why it appears as if Kraft has sent some corporate trolls to this site to knock this effort. The irrational and over the top rage is a red flag (or maybe a by-product of chemical additives!)

        Heaven forbid, the general public gets educated about the poison in food and companies like Kraft have to raise their standard.

        The yellow dye is a good and long overdue beginning, and there are many more needless chemicals including the ubiquitous and misleading “natural flavors.”

  39. Gerald D. Wootan D.O., M.Ed.

    I commend your efforts. Acturall most of the food dyes are made from coal tar. Goldfish are toxic. If you think food dyes are toxic you should research aspertame (nutrisweet).

  40. You might want to rethink using the UK as your comparison. A study was just released saying their health as a nation is in sharp decline. They might not use dye in their Kraft, but the people run quite a high risk for a variety of diseases.


    Every country has it’s downside nutritionally speaking. No country is perfect and never will be. Only in America, where the vast majority of our citizens have access to a hot meal every day, do we complain about the ingredients in everything. I understand your quest and personally think it’s great, but so often I read this blog and can’t help but think, gosh we’re a bunch of pampered a-holes.

  41. I don’t see a change happening any time soon. The way I see it is, our parents grew up eating the same food that we did–technically, the food was ‘worse’ back then. And they came out just fine. It’s more so the lifestyle of today’s generation than anything else. Parents today are so paranoid of stuff that parents back then didn’t consider as much as they do now. People have always known that the more convinent the food was, the more processed the food was. And yet people still eat it. And as long as there’s still a demand for that, then nothing will change. I just try to follow the 80/20 rule and use common sense and my own knowledge as to what’s ‘healthy’ and what’s not.

      1. Why don’t you just ban everything else then that people eat? Because food dyes are in just about everything we consumer. I’m not signing the petition. I think all you crazy health parents are just that, crazy. You do way too much research. As I said, our parent’s parents never had this kind of information back then and everyone grew up fine.My parents ate Kraft Mac n Cheese, fast food, and all the other ‘bad’ food you claim. They are now full grown adults and are perfectly fine and perfectly healthy. Parent’s today are out of control about reading into everything they can. Just eat the food, exercise, and live life. Let your kid just be a kid.

        And you may be asking why I’m posting if I disagree,well, it’s just for that reason. I’m disagreeing. I have rights and freedoms as well as you people do about your ‘real food’, so I’m choosing to say why I think today’s parenting is worse off than previous generations.

      2. I used to feel the same way. I thought everyone was fine. People have been eating this way for decades now and everyone I knew were healthy. I thought my mom was crazy for changing her eating habits to organic and real food. If she would tell me about it I didn’t want to hear it. And then my mother in law who has been healthy all of her life was diagnosed with cancer. We were devastated. Watching what that horrible disease did to her in just a few months and losing her to it was more than we could take. I started reading about the type of cancer she had and found out that it was more than likely caused by her diet infuriated me. Suddenly eating that way didn’t sound so crazy anymore. If I can possibly prevent my husband or my children from going through what my mother in law had to go through I will do whatever it takes. I have been eliminating processed foods for a year now and I have never regretted that decision.

      3. Samantha,
        I think you are quite mistaken. I know for a fact my parents did not grow up eating this way. I would say that’s true for the majority of our parents and especially prior generations as there were not as many processed choices out there. I don’t even think there were as many processed choices out there when I was younger and it saddens me to think that you are being such a critic for no real reason. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but no one is forcing you to agree or even read this blog. I truly feel sorry for you. I am very thankful for Lisa and her team, it helps inspire me to feed my family in a more wholesome way instead of accepting that it has to be this way. I can’t always buy organic, and right now we live in an apartment so gardening is mostly out of the question. I love reading about new resources and hearing how she does it. I am sorry that you can’t see the value in people wanting to do better for their families.

  42. Leanne Pressly

    Hi Lisa, LOVE your blog and read every post! Would love to see you do a post on the most common foods using these food dyes? I’m always shocked at what you uncover and appreciate all the time and effort you put into keeping my family safe. Thank you. PS gave our teacher the info about sweets in the classroom!

  43. In many places in the world, to include what we in the US consider 2nd and 3rd world nations the governments ban many products we have in our foods. The move to real food should be considered natural like breastfeeding, not a fad or a movement. I hope we can change our social culture in the US, and people like you are helping parents to make informed decisions.
    Author of Herbal Healing for Children

  44. Thank you for starting this petition! Although I don’t eat Kraft products I know many families do and those dyes are so dangerous. I encourage everyone to read nutrition labels and know what’s in your food.

  45. I have one question: I signed the petition yesterday, and it said 14,025 signatures were needed. I saw last night that you had well exceeded this number. When I looked again today, it shows that 18,931 people have signed the petition, and that 31,069 signatures are needed. Why did the number change?

    1. Hi Jamie – Unfortunately there isn’t a “magic number” we can hit that will result in Kraft taking action. Maybe that’s 50k, maybe it’s 200k maybe it depends more on media coverage of the petition than the actual #. So basically we have to get as many signatures as possible and hope Kraft sees the results as the voice of the consumer and decides to make a change. Change.org is set up to increase the goal…guess it’s a psychology thing!

  46. I have learned so much from your blog and I commend you for what you have done. I am sorry that you have received negative feedback. I applaud you for educating all of us to make this country and all of us healthier. Keep doing what you are doing. We need more people like you. If people do not agree, then they need to move on and make the changes they feel necessary!

  47. I don’t buy anything Kraft anymore. For box Mac n cheese I buy Annie’s when its on sale at target. Better to change my buying habits than expect chain from big giant industrial food Co. Peace and wisdom to all

  48. I would never buy any product with artificial ingredients in it. Why do you have to add these? They are very harmful to us and not necessary. Change to real food.

  49. Our children are becoming ill because of all the junk put in our foods ,what about MPC here is another ingredient you use,MY family does not us any of your products.I will continue to tell everyone NOT to buy KRAFT products.For the readers on this site look up the dangers of MPC…..

  50. If you’re reading a blog about eating real food, you automatically fall into a very small percentage of individuals that are concerned about their food choices. Even though your family may not personally purchase processed food, think of all the families that cannot afford the luxury of this choice. Many families lack the education or the financial resources to purchase healthier options. Food banks are great for getting food on the table, but often times families get a lot of processed foods (cheap and lots of surplus). I think any food is better than hunger, but I also believe that these families deserve better. Let’s get rid of harmful dyes, chemicals, etc. so that all families can be healthier.

  51. I’m a little conflicted on this one.

    On the one hand, why would I sign a petition for a product I wouldn’t buy even without the dyes. Most of the ingredients in Kraft dinner are terrible.

    ..but then I think of how ignorant I was about all this stuff just two years ago…blissfully thinking there were government people making sure our food was safe. I trusted in that.

    Reading posts like this leave me feeling sad for everyone out there getting sicker and sicker and proud of all the awesome food detectives and caring parents that always comment here!

    Told you I was left conflicted.

  52. Would love it if you help start a petition on aspartame in milk that the dairy industry is trying to push. At least with Kraft it is very easy for most to just not buy it. Milk is another story. No local farms anywhere near where we live. Our milk has to come from the store. I don’t know what we will do if that passes.

    1. Kym! I couldn’t agree more! That article about the additives the dairy industry is pushing literally enraged me (and that is rather hard to do being a peacenik!).

  53. Thank you so much for doing this. We also vote with our dollars and would NEVER buy Kraft products or any other processed foods BUT we want to spread the word and let Big Food companies know that what they are doing is not going unnoticed and we aren’t going to stand for it anymore.

    I also want to make sure these processed foods are cleaned up in case these foods are fed to my children without my knowing it (preschool, friend’s houses etc.)

    Thanks again for what you’re doing.


  54. Kraft makes an organic version of their mac & cheese. At least they are providing that option, so we have a choice.

    1. Organic also contains dyes and additives :( it kind of cancels it out.Not much of option. Though there are some out there, I choose to make my own.

  55. Here is a thought, if you dont like it dont buy it. That will send a message. You have every right to make your own fresh.

    1. Michael – We don’t buy Kraft Mac & Cheese (although we did years ago), and you are right, voting with your dollars is very important! In addition to voting with our dollars, we are sending a louder message with this petition. The point is to also educate others along the way, and if we can get Kraft to listen we hope other processed food manufacturers will follow suit. Unfortunately a lot of Americans just assume the government is ensuring the safety of all foods available in their grocery stores.

      Note we do make our own mac and cheese…the recipe is at the bottom of the post and here again if you’d like to try it https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/12/31/recipe-whole-wheat-macaroni-and-cheese/.

  56. My family and I prefer to eat foods free of artificial flavors and ingredients. Kraft is a respected company. Please take a stand for your consumers by making delicious foods without the artificial ingredients.

  57. How about Kraft getting rid of the toxic dyes and all of the GMO’s from their product. Sell us the same products that you sell in Great Britain. Be a leader in the food industry, and blaze a path that the American citizens can look to as a large corporation looking out for their customers welfare-rather than their own bottom line. I feel certain that you could accomplish both at the saame time.

  58. Critical Reader

    Lisa & Food Babe,

    is it for once possible, that you guys do the minimum amount of research before posting an article? Yellow 5 (tartrazine) is NOT banned in the European Union. It used to be banned in Germany and Austria, but the EFSA (European Food and Safety Authority) declared it as safe and the ban was hence overruled.

    In general I agree, Mac and Cheese (or virtually any other foods) do not need artificial (or natural) food dyes, and it is a shame that companies swamp the US market with that crap. However, I am getting tired of those alarming articles who blindly rely on information somewhere found on the www. Don’t we readers deserve some more effort on your part, i.e. that you cite some primary data and not some information found in 5-year old newspaper articles? How difficult is it to check the food dyes allowed in the EU?

    Greetings from the EU – we are currently struggling with horse meat found in processed food that was labeled as beef, cattle fed with thousands of tons of highly aflatoxin contaminated corn, and a large-scale relabeling of cheap eggs as organic eggs. Not to forget the mafia style olive oil scams we normally get to hear during silly season. I am not sure if Europe is really that good of an example….

    1. Critical Reader – WHERE did we say Yellow 5 is “banned” in the entire European Union? Sounds like you need to do some closer reading/research yourself. Here is a quote directly from Kraft Foods UK (which backs up what we said about them PHASING IT OUT):
      “Kraft Foods UK has no products aimed at children that contain the ingredients highlighted in the FSA [Southampton] study. . . . [W]ith our recent Lunchables reformulation in the UK, we reduced fat and salt, as well as removed artificial colours and flavours. Without compromising quality, taste and food safety, we will continue to see where we can make changes and still meet consumer expectations.”—Kraft Foods UK

      1. Critical Reader did not post you claimed this.
        “WHERE did we say Yellow 5 is “banned” in the entire European Union?”

        They merely pointed out one country and ban was lifted. If this is factually incorrect, could you counter it please?

        What you said
        “that are not used – and in some cases banned – in other countries. One of those products is an iconic staple that almost every American, us included, has had at one time or another: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.”

        That is pretty all encompassing. If I read the poster’s response right, neither of them are currently banned.

        I agree with your sentiments. It should be a simple matter to switch to something with less health risks. Beta-carotene comes to mind as a reasonable substitution if they insist on the product being yellow/orange. Nothing wrong with white colored cheese sauce of course.

      2. Critical Reader


        I never wrote, that you claimed that yellow 5 was banned in the entire EU. However, you claim it is banned in Austria (I leave Norway out as it is not a member of the EU) and “phased out” in the UK. About 15 years ago, each European Union member country had its own food regulation, then food regulation was harmonized and member states now have to obey European law. As already said, the EFSA declared yellow 5 as safe, and hence it is allowed in the entire EU, including Austria and the UK. However, UK companies voluntarily (!) leave yellow 5 and some other dyes out of their products.

      3. Critical Reader – I am not sure where you are going with this. Click the links above to check our sources. We spent a great deal of time putting this project together in an effort to affect POSITIVE change in the food industry. This post is about signing a petition to remove unnecessary artificial dyes from an iconic American food product. If you don’t agree and think artificial dyes are just fine in our food then don’t sign it (and move on) – it’s that simple. But trying to pick apart one of our claims (where the original source is documented above) adds absolutely no value to what could hopefully be a big step in the right direction for the American Food Industry. I see your frequent rebuttals on my blog posts and if you want to continue to post here I think it’s time you use your real name and picture rather than hide behind the “critical reader” persona. I willingly put myself out there with every single post I write, and its time you do the same if you want to continue to be part of the conversation.

      4. Critical Reader

        Lisa, again, I agree with you, artificial and natural food dyes are for most products absolutely unnecessary. For that reason, I would support any initiative that approaches food companies and asks them to omit unnecessary dyes and other additives. But I would not support an initiative that is based on scare tactics, false claims and poor or even non-existent research. The end does not justify the means.

        Your following statements are clearly false and please correct me if you think I am wrong. The other statements are more a matter of debate, so I’ll leave them out for right now.

        “Artificial food dyes require a warning label in other countries outside the US” – The EU requires a warning label for its 6 allowed azo-dyes; the other 8 artificial dyes do not require a labeling. As a comparison, the US only allows 9 artificial food colorings, 3 of those (Yellow 5 and 6, Red 40) are azo-dyes and would require a warning under EU law.

        “Artificial food dyes have been banned in countries like Norway and Austria (and are being phased out in the UK)” – The EU allows more artificial food dyes (14) than the US (9). Narrowing the statement down to azo-dyes, see comments before.

        “Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 specifically are contaminated with known carcinogens” – the carcinogens you are referring to are aniline and benzidine; contamination with those is an issue for dyes used in clothing industry etc. but it does not seem to be an issue for food dyes: Lancaster & Lawrence (1999) are reporting trace amounts of benzidine in two food colorings.

        You do document your sources, but not a single one of them is a primary source. You publish so many good articles about nutrition in general, you wonderfully question old and often outdated believes, etc., but as soon as it comes to food regulatory and safety issues, you jump on to everything you can find on the www, without ever questioning what you are reading.

        Concerning your demand to disclose my name and picture, if I was called Lisa Smith and/or if I was a waiter/nurse/realtor/etc. I would be more than willing to do so. However, I am in the unfavorable condition of having a very unique name and calling Big Food/Big Agro my employers, so appearing publicly on this forum might not be a good choice for me. I got your message, you prefer readers that just press the “Like” button. Good luck with your campaign.

    2. Critical Reader,
      Why do you read this blog? Your posts are ALWAYS to criticize and pick apart whatever is written. This blog is about real food. Clearly, you are not interested in that so please go troll somewhere else. I don’t always agree with everything posted, but I take what I want and then move on. I appreciate all the time Lisa and her team take to educate and encourage. I DON’T appreciate your constant belittling of Lisa and at times Vani.

      1. Critical Reader

        Cathie, any type of critique I have expressed so far was well funded and documented. Please read my previous post and correct me, if I any of my issues raised are wrong. Yes, I have heavily criticized Vani’s last article and again, the critique I have expressed was well funded. In addition, many other readers have pointed out the deceptiveness of Vani’s last article.

        Why do I read this blog? Many fellow Moms asked me how I manage to raise a family as a single, full-time working parent and still cook as good as every meal from scratch. I used to refer those people to Lisa’s blog as I find her early work excellent. Why does it bug me, that there is so much false information on this site? If Lisa was a mere private blogger, I could care less. She does not have to justify her believes. However, Lisa and Vani are taking it a step above private blogging. They want to be heard, demand change and try to get others on their boat with false information. I do not think, that they are trying to be deceptive, just a little bit too quick with their writings and conclusions. IMHO, a large readership comes with responsibility and would require a thorough studying of the subjects.

      2. Critical Reader says: “any type of critique I have expressed so far was well funded” and then again “the critique I have expressed was well funded”.

        How does a single mom working full time and making 3 square meals from scratch have time to post large replies over and over? Perhaps if said mom is PAID (or “well funded”?) to post such replies.

        The big companies pay people to troll websites like Lisa’s and Vani’s to post messages that break down trust and cause conflict in the reader. As Lisa’s blog grows and the REALFOOD movement gains momentum, the trolling is just going to get worse.

        Readers of 100days: PLEASE don’t let the big “food” companies win again! Feel free to do your own research and then, if you agree with Lisa, come back and sign her petition.

        The bottom line is this: Kraft has the ability to manufacture foods that contain real ingredients for Americans, but choose not to. Why? (I think we all know that answer to that……)

      3. I support Lisa’s efforts, and also appreciate the constructive criticisms of “Critical Reader.” There is nothing more frustrating than a worthwhile cause losing credibility because supporters make claims that aren’t entirely accurate. There are so many factually-sound reasons to support the removal of dyes and chemicals from our food, there is no need to overreach. I agree with nearly every observation Lisa has regarding real food, but while I enjoy Vani’s perspective I’m often uncomfortable with her methodology and the authorities she cites.

      4. Critical Reader

        Somebody paying me for posting here – wishful thinking;-)

        The EU allows more artificial dyes in their foods than the US does, but they are not as frequently used in the EU for two reasons. Firstly, consumers won’t buy artificial dyes, so producers are forced to switch to “natural” alternatives like chlorophyll, carotenoids, cochenille, curcumine, etc. (examples: M&Ms are colored with natural dyes in Europe and with artificial dyes in the US; Haribo gummy bears don’t contain any dyes in Europe, but three artificial dyes in the US version). Secondly, US Americans are more drawn to colorful food than their European friends. Do a google picture search with the words “christmas cookies” and “Weihnachtsplaetzchen” (German for christmas cookies), the result is quite impressive.

        I do not criticize Lisa&Vani’s demand for cutting out artificial dyes, but I have a problem with the methodology. The two somewhat imply that food companies are cheating on us, but at the same time I feel cheated and mislead by especially Vani’s articles. They frequently contain wrong and misleading information. Cathy, you might not like my bitching here, but again, please tell me where I am factually wrong with my critique.

        Why were all the exaggerations in this article necessary? Lisa & Vani could have written an excellent article by simply referring to the original “Southampton Study” and checking the laws and practices in both countries. Exaggerations and poor sources made the article weaker than it could have been.

      5. Critical Reader – This is where you’ve got YOUR research wrong. Nothing in our article is “exaggerated,” all our references are well documented above, and we purposely did not refer to the Southampton Study because for that study, “Scientists at Europe’s food safety watchdog have completed an assessment of a recent study[1] on the effect of two mixtures of certain food colours and the preservative sodium benzoate[2] on children’s behaviour.” And Kraft Macaroni and Cheese only contains the dyes NOT sodium benzoate. Contrary to your belief Vani and I do actually do our research.

      6. I have to agree with Critical Reader. When this blog takes an impassioned view (particularly a guest writer here) it always seems to have some information that is not well documented or the conclusion drawn is exaggerated vs the source. I’ll give an example “Causes an increase in hyperactivity.” That is incomplete. They have found it to increase hyperactivity in SOME children who ALREADY have been diagnosed with hyperactivity. Children not already diagnosted with hyperactivity have not been shown to be impacted. Doesn’t mean it’s not a a great idea to get rid of the chemical, but the statement’s not fair and balanced.

        The intent of pointing out all these things is not because we don’t agree with the desire to reduce/eliminate harmful and even questionable ingredients. I fully support it and that’s why I read this blog. (Less, so when I find inflammatory posts like this one.) The point is that when statements are made in that post that a reader who is “on the fence” can find exaggerations or not scientifically proven inferences, then they focus on that and have proven to themselves that the entire concept of natural being healthy is a bunch of overzealous nuts who have too much time on their hands. They are not going to look at the other sources that might be right on target. They want to protect their reality. They look FOR the weak points so that they can dismiss the whole concept. I know this because I was that person.

        And if you want real food options, and options that are affordable, and healthier alternatives for kids whose parents aren’t as informed (as this petition would be a great step in that directio), then the goal is to bring more people into the fold. Telling people if they dont’ like it to get off the blog, defeats that purpose. Preaching to the choir doesn’t advance the goals that blogs like this were created to do. This blog is part of why I converted to whole foods. I’m not sure this article would have swayed me at all. You do a great job at fighting the good fight. This isn’t your best work.

      7. Critical Reader

        Yes, it is true, the Southampton study used mixtures of several food dyes and benzoate. Therefore, it is impossible to tell which of the chemicals by itself or which chemical combination is the culprit. The study was enough for the EU to take action and require warning labels of azo-dyes independent of the presence of benzoate. You say, that you did not include the Southampton study, because Kraft’s Mac and Cheese do not contain benzoate. I do not comprehend your conclusion, that the presence of benzoate is necessary for the negative effects. But if you think so, wouldn’t it be logical to re-phrase or better cancel your claim that “Food dyes cause an increase in hyperactivity”? You give the CSPI-report as reference for your hyperactivity claim. Besides the fact, that this report clearly states that “we do not report neurobehavioral toxicity”, in their brief summary about that matter they are citing what? The Southampton study!

        And another two examples of your poor research:

        You: “Food dyes have a negative impact on children to learn”.
        Reference: CSPI-report. BUT: The report does not discuss the learning abilities of children. May I assume, that you cited the wrong reference or is that sentence a product of your imagination?

        You: “Food dyes have been linked to long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes, and migraines.”
        Reference: cbcnews online article from 2008 (great source), which states “research has linked it (Yellow 5) to asthma, skin rashes, and migraines” – a reference for that statement is not given.

        The CSPI-report and an EFSA evaluation (http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/1331.pdf) of Yellow 5 do not support the above statement. However, they both explain, that there are people who are hypersensitive to Yellow 5. I assume, those hypersensitivity reactions were misrepresented in the cbcnews article as “research has linked it to asthma, skin rashes, and migraines.” And you guys had to top it off by adding “long-term health problems” to it. I call that exaggeration.

        I don’t get it, you have a 58-page CSPI-report with plenty of ammunition and you still see the need to exaggerate?

  59. I would love to sign the petition, even though our family does not eat Kraft products, I wanted to sign the petition for people who do. However, I do not want to give out that much personal information. Good luck and it looks like you will reach your goal! I hope Kraft listens, not just with this one product.

    1. For those not wanting to give that information away on the petition you can always send a e-mail to the kraft company showing your support.

  60. Wow. This is great and so needed! Can you do Kellogg’s next? I got so upset when I found out that a lot of the Kellogg’s products are available, like Kraft, in other countries without the harmful food additives. So frustrating!

  61. I am all for fixing this problem but don’t you think if it is banned in other countries maybe there is a bigger stand than just Kraft? Why not petition for this to be a warning label on all our foods in the US? Just wondering?

    1. Ellen – Because that would be A LOT harder to accomplish. Requesting change from a specific company regarding a specific product is actually attainable and since Kraft is the largest American food company others will (hopefully) follow their lead. I hope that makes sense.

  62. Thanks for taking a stand. It is time we come together and hold corporations accountable for what they put in the products they sell to America’s families. I try to educate my friends and their families to take the time to make real food, delicious food, but it’s a long road. I applaud the steps you are taking to speak out and provide information to those who may not know what is really going on in the world of corporate food giants. It is time we all speak out and change the way we feed our families…buy in bulk, grow some food, share some food, eat meals together, cook together, teach each other and be the change. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it does take some time and planning. It all begins with a small step and then before you know it, you’re hooked on real food! Let the journey begin…

  63. I’m not sure where you got your info about the UK version of this, but we do NOT have this product in this country. I am a Canadian, and according to the internet, we Canuck’s buy this product more than any country in the world. Yes, we like our KD (Kraft Dinner we call it), so being the devotee I am (I know it is soooo unhealthy, but I like it for a treat every now and then) when I moved here I was very sad to see it is NOT sold in the UK.

    Proper imported Kraft M&C can be bought from the odd candy store that sells American imports (alongside Nerds and Reese Cups, etc), and I’ve seen it on a couple import website that specialize in seling American junk food, but they all charge exorbitant prices–http://www.americangrocery.co.uk/kraft-macaroni-cheese-206g-603-p.asp

    I googled this Kraft Cheesey Pasta in your photo and it is ONLY available on Amazon and Ebay–likely importing from the Middle East or something. Trust me, England would never put and E in CHEESY.

    So, I think your post is great. I am all about eating healthy and cutting processed foods (just the odd treat!), but I just think your comparison to the UK’s version is quite off. I have seen Wikipedia says it is called that in the UK, but remember, wiki is just written by anybody.

    Thank you for your great posts, though!

    1. Thanks for your reply. I understand your friend bought it here, but I’m guessing she did not by it in a mainstream grocery store, but at a store specializing in imports and such. This is definitely not a product in this country. I even went to the Kraft Foods website and it is not there, even in the Europe website. So I just don’t get where this information about ‘a public outcry’ came from! Or maybe it is available in Scotland or Ireland or something? But again, it is on no websites, only import websites and Amazon and Ebay. Even I have seen the American blue box variety in the UK, but in expat stores for insano prices! Sorry, I’m not trying to be awkward, just a bit surprised about the public outcry bit.

      1. Tara – Here is the direct quote from Kraft Foods UK:
        “Kraft Foods UK has no products aimed at children that contain the ingredients highlighted in the FSA [Southampton] study. . . . [W]ith our recent Lunchables reformulation in the UK, we reduced fat and salt, as well as removed artificial colours and flavours. Without compromising quality, taste and food safety, we will continue to see where we can make changes and still meet consumer expectations.”—Kraft Foods UK
        This is where this quote is documented: http://www.allergykids.com/blog/serving-up-food-dyes-uk-style/
        The outcry wasn’t just mac and cheese specifically, but ALL Kraft products (including mac and cheese).

      2. Hi Tara – I just wanted to add to Lisa’s already very important points and articles she shared with you proving that Kraft is purposefully reformulating products in the UK but not here.

        Here’s a link to a picture of the box, the mac & cheese came in that was sent to us from the U.K. – As you can see – it reads ” Kraft Foods U.K.” right on the box.


        This product was made specifically for the U.K. – I’m sorry you can’t find it in your local store. Please don’t try to undermine our petition – we want change and we know if we start with the biggest food company headquartered in the US, we have a chance to eliminate artificial food dyes for good.

      1. Haha, No i DO NOT eat with ketchup!! Never quite understood my friends that did/do! EWW!

        As for the other discussion going on here, I concede defeat. I certainly do not intend to undermine your petition. I think it is very noble and pro-active and great and I hope Kraft listens and follows through and other companies as well. I just wanted to make sure you had the facts straight so they couldn’t come back and say the product doesn’t exist here. It makes no sense to me why when I google the product it does not seem to exist, nor can i find it in any of the major shopping chains (in-store nor online). Very strange indeed. And i do a lot of my grocery shopping online, as well, and generally all products are listed there. Maybe they sell it up north or something. I’m clueless (but tempted to buy it on Amazon now that I know it is there!!!). haha.

        God bless you guys with your petition. I hope you have a great week best of luck! Make some change!

      2. Thank you for that Tara. In reality this is not really about macaroni and cheese :) This is about removing an unnecessary ingredient from our food products that is not used in other countries and in America we thought macaroni and cheese would be a good place to start!

  64. Signed … I really wish the US would care about we are eating. If countries can do it we can. I feel more people need to be educated on this issue.

  65. I signed the petition. I’m from Canada so I hope it still counts. Let’s pray that what they do filters up north of the border to us too.

  66. Thanks for awareness! I am not sure Lisa if you read the comments that were left on your Facebook about milk. While the additives in food products is a huge issue, there is a choice whether or not to buy it. We all eat dairy products, and children are given the milk in every school. I wish you would get the word out about signing that petition. If it passes no one will know if the flavored milk at their child’s school contains aspartame. This affects a large portion of our country. It will include 17 other milk products. Not everyone can afford organic, but it does not mean that ingredients should be left off the label for products with sugar. Aspartame can affect our health horribly, even worse than the obesity epidemic they say it will help. Please read those posts and lets change something that will affect all school children. Thanks!

    1. I’d love a link to the aspartame milk petition as well! I won’t let my kids touch it as I don’t think it’s healthy, but my husband goes through a half gallon per week. I found a BHG free, real sugar version as I can’t afford organic. Scary to think aspartame could soon be hidden in there.

      While they are at it, if the federal government is seriously looking for a way to make flavored milk healthier for children, just take it out of school lunch programs all together! It is recommended to keep children’s daily added sugar intake at 3 teaspoons or less and a carton of chocolate milk contains more then 1 1/2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving! (I subtracted the naturally occurring milk sugars listed in white milk from the sugar total in chocolate milk to figure out the added amount of sugar)

  67. I make home made mac and cheese when ever I can. So simple and easy. If you have pasta, cheese, buter, milk, and a little flour; that is all you need! But we do also buy Annie’s Homegrown Organic mac and cheese or shells and cheddar to have on hand in a pinch. It is also colored with organic annatto extract. And I recently saw a 12 pack of assorted regular Annie’s mac and cheese, shells and cheddar, and shells and white cheddar at costco for $10. I think I would rather pay a little more for the organic non gmo ingredients than eat what kraft is serving you.

  68. Yes, I agree with T…..that is what I was going to say also.
    And it DOES help to sign a petition, not just stop buying the product…..because there are so many Americans who are uneducated about the food they are buying. If we care about others, then we do what we can to benefit EVERYONE, not just ourselves.
    And it’s just the principle of it too! If it’s harmful to people in other countries, it’s harmful for America too! And you have to start somewhere, one step at a time.

  69. Did you know Cadburys (also owned by Kraft) chocolates in the UK are all made with Fair Trade cocoa? I’m not talking about $6 bars you find at Whole Foods, but all the 50c bars you pick up at the grocery checkout line. All of them. They are already making all of their products in a much healthier, safer and still profitable way overseas. It’s very possible for them to change their US products, they just choose not to.

    1. Actually, Cadbury is no longer owned by Kraft. The company split and took a new name. Though I still agree it is possible for them to change their products.

  70. I was reading labels more at the store the other day and out of curiosity I was looking at those various Kraft Mac&Cheese boxes. I noticed that the “White Cheddar” version has no artificial colors added.

  71. So, you consider Kraft Mac & Cheese “real food”? And the only ingredient of concern to you is the food dye?

    1. No Zia, I do not consider Kraft Mac & Cheese to be real food (nor is dye the only concern), but for Americans who do buy this product they simply deserve better. It’s the principle, and this is one small step in the right direction to fix our food system.

    2. Zia, I dont think she considers it real food, nor is she promoting it as such. I think the point is that TONS AND TONS of people are going to continue to eat Kraft mac and cheese-people that are uneducated about food and where it comes from and how it is made. We have not been taught as a nation to read ingredients, but to look at calories, carbs, fat etc. SO the benefit would be for those that are getting sicker and sicker that may never read blogs about nutrition or are not financially able to buy organic pasta, cheese, milk etc to make mac and cheese. There is benefit regardless of a few followers that would not buy it anyway. Dye or no dye. But it will help those that are uninformed.

  72. Thank you for starting this petition, it is time we all take a stand over what our nation is offering our families!

  73. This is also the case for other major companies like Mars Corp and Pepsico. Skittles/Starbursts in the EU have all natural colors because they are banned… but here in the US we allow the artificial colors. Orange Fanta in Europe is colored with pumpkin and carrot… while we use artificial dye!

    1. This is another thing I was thinking about. I LOVE mini M&M’s, but I didn’t realize until recently that the dyes were so closely related to such dangerous things. I would do love it if they replaced the dyes with carrot or pumpkin. I hate that for now I won’t feel comfortable buying it. I just ate the last of these yesterday:(.

  74. Great video! You ladies are an inspiration. I will sign the petition and send to everyone I know. Thank you for all you do.

  75. Hey here’s an idea! If you don’t like what’s in it don’t buy it! Let the company figure out why sales are dropping and fix the problem on their own rather than having people tell them what to do with their product.

    1. People keep saying this…but we still need to look out for those who can’t afford to make their own, or don’t think they have time to or just don’t understand that it’s unhealthy. We don’t buy anything by Kraft at our house, I don’t even eat macaroni and cheese. But I signed this for the kids whose parents for one reason or another buy Kraft mac n cheese. The kids don’t have a choice in what they are offered to eat for dinner.

      Just because a lot of folks buying this stuff don’t understand that it’s potentially unhealthy for their children doesn’t mean we should let Kraft put whatever dangerous chemicals they want in it. Those of us that do understand should do whatever we can to help even though we don’t buy it. Most people reading this blog are already not buying Kraft.

      Many families receive Kraft mac n cheese in food donation baskets. How many times do you see Kraft boxes in food bins? Starving families are not going to throw it out because it has artificial dye in it. They’re not worrying about signing a petition while they’re putting their children to bed hungry. All they know is that it’s free or it’s quick and affordable and will fill their children’s bellies.

  76. The object here is to vote with your dollars. You can organize and sign all the petitions you can, however, if you don’t purchase that product and sales numbers diminish, they will notice for sure. Why not make your own or support a company that isn’t owned by a big conglomerate? Even if they take those two colors out of the product, the pasta is probably made of GMO flour…

    1. That thought ran through my mind too, although I still signed. I don’t buy Kraft macaroni and cheese or any boxed mac and cheese anymore.

  77. My kids make the instant mac n cheese after school most days for a quick snack that they can do themselves. Do you know of an organic product similar to this that I could buy instead?

    1. Carla –
      My mom would make a batch of pasta and homemade cheese sauce and keep them seperate in the fridge. Then just have them combine in microwave during the week…

    2. Annie’s has an organic, whole wheat, white cheese boxed mac and cheese. It’s just as easy and I think tastes better than the Kraft stuff. We personally like homemade mac and cheese better than the boxed kind, but Annie’s will do in a pinch!

    3. Annie’s makes one but it is expensive. Not sure if it is organic or what not but I’m sure it’s dye free.

    4. There is an organic instant Mac and Cheese. It’s Annie’s homegrown brand that’s made with organic pasta and real aged cheddar. It comes in 5 single servings packages and I buy it at Target for around $3.50/box.

    5. I had the instant Annie’s for after school snacks when I was in high school, but my parents stopped buying it when they realized I was just eating the instant pasta with tomato sauce and leaving the cheese packets in the pantry :-).

      Nowadays, when I want mac and cheese quickly, I mix pre-cooked noodles with some grated cheese, plain yogurt, and a pat of butter and microwave. It is WORLDS more delicious than the processed stuff and still takes next to no time to make!

    6. Carla-
      Annie’s makes a organic and whole wheat instant mac n cheese like the type your kids are used to cooking in the microwave from Kraft (without the gunk). Do a search for their website for all of the ingredient details. Hope this helps.

  78. The Pioneer Woman’s Mac N Cheese is excellent and easy to make. I say ditch the boxed Mac altogether. But I agree, if they’re going to produce it, leave out the harmful additives!

  79. We make our own with brown rice pasta … my son barely noticed the difference, and now eats it just as readily as the boxed stuff …

    If you really want to see something crazy – check the ingredients for American Mcdonald’s products, and compare to those in other countries … I noticed this when an Australian friend posted something about McD’s and someone else questioned whether it was the same across the board … we checked, and in Australia, the ingredients were REAL food, and half as many as what was listed in the US version of the item. Pretty sick, eh?

    1. Ruth Mannebach

      Kraft owned Back to Nature until this past August, when they sold their majority stake to Brynwood… one would think it would be easy for Kraft to take out the junk in their own house brand!