Our Response to Kraft’s Letter: It’s Time to Surrender Your Artificial Dyes

FYI – Today I am appearing on the Dr. Oz Show along with Vani (aka Food Babe) to discuss our petition – be sure to tune in!

It’s been a little over one week since we started a petition to remove artificial food dyes from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. We have over 228,000 signatures, and counting, and while we heard from Kraft right after the petition launched, it was not the response we were hoping for.

We thought it would be important to share their response and exact letter with you, so you can understand exactly what we are up against.

Below you’ll see Kraft’s letter to us along with our specific response and reaction in bold.

From Kraft: Hi Lisa and Vani,

Thanks for contacting us. The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously. We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold. So in the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Our Response: When Kraft found out the safety of artificial food dyes was in question in Europe – why didn’t they make the “safety” of U.S. citizens their highest priority, too? Food is food – whether in our country or someone else’s – why not make all Kraft products standardized to the highest safety regulation across the board? Kraft was able to reformulate their products without artificial dyes in the U.K. without noticeably changing the color or taste – we even taste tested it ourselves just to prove this point. We know it can be done; Kraft doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

To further prove this point – Kraft stated this fact themselves by reformulating Lunchables in the UK without “compromising quality, taste and food safety.”

“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 (Quote Taken from AllergyKids Foundation)

Because Kraft has not willingly and proactively reformulated their products in the US, it’s obvious to us that Kraft’s highest priority is their bottom line. We are asking Kraft, a multi-billion dollar company, to be the leader in the US Food Industry by voluntarily removing artificial dyes and owning up to the statements they make about safety and quality of their products.

From Kraft: We expanded our line of KRAFT Mac & Cheese (KMC) offerings. We know some people prefer foods without certain ingredients — we now offer a multitude of products without added colors, as well as products with natural food colors including:

  • KMC Organic White Cheddar
  • KMC Organic Cheddar
  • KMC White Cheddar
  • KMC Alfredo
  • KMC Deluxe Original Cheddar
  • KMC Deluxe Four Cheese
  • KMC Deluxe Sharp Cheddar
  • KMC Homestyle Creamy Parmesan Alfredo
  • KMC Homestyle Sharp Cheddar and Bacon
  • KMC Homestyle Classic Cheddar
  • KMC Homestyle Hearty Four Cheese
  • KMC Homestyle Bowl Southwest Tortilla
  • KMC Homestyle Bowl Creamy Broccoli with White Cheddar
  • KMC Cup Alfredo

Our Response: Who prefers food with artificial color? We are not sure many consumers do since it adds no benefit or nutritional value to the foods it’s in and is simply a cheap, cosmetic additive. And what about all the kids that reach for the boxes with cartoon characters? Do you really think they are going to pick out the Organic/Homestyle version over Spongebob? The above options of Macaroni and Cheese without artificial dyes are not targeted toward children, and the versions that are specifically designed for children do contain Yellow #5 and Yellow #6. Children are the ones that are most at risk for complications when consuming artificial dyes. In Europe, a food company is required to use a warning label when using artificial food dyes stating, “May cause adverse effects in activity and attention in children” on the package.

But meanwhile back in the US, Kraft features children regularly in commercials and goes as far as holding essay contests specifically for children to promote the introduction and creation of new product lines containing artificial food dyes – products like “Cheddar Explosion,” “Extreme Cheese Explosion,” and “Grilled Cheese Explosion.”

Since artificial dyes provide no value but do pose risks, we believe it is up to Kraft to voluntarily change their product and stop exploiting the FDA laws to their financial advantage. The 30 or so Kraft varieties that do still contain artificial dyes in the US are unfair to the children lured by these products, unfair to the less fortunate who buy these products because they are cheaper, and unfair to the uneducated consumer that is unaware of these potentially harmful ingredients.

Kraft Mac and Cheese Products Targeted at Children - 100 Days of Real Food

Want to Save this Recipe?

Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you'll get great new recipes from us every week!

Save Recipe

Even the FDA admits we should be concerned, stating the following on their website:

“Exposure to food and food components, including AFC [Artificial Food Colors] and preservatives, may be associated with behavioral changes, not necessarily related to hyperactivity, in certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, and possibly in susceptible children from the general population.”

Yellow #5 and #6 both have not been retested since their approval – do we have confidence in the FDA to keep up to date on health risks considering there were 91 artificial dyes (allowed in food, drugs, cosmetics, and/or medical devices) that were at one point approved by the FDA that are now no longer authorized or have been restricted?

Also what about all the big restaurant chains like Applebee’s, IHOP, Perkins, Denny’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bob Evans and Steak n’ Shake offering “Kraft Macaroni & Cheese” in kids meals and on menus across the country? These children do not get a choice between mac & cheese with or without dyes – instead they are solely offered the riskier option.

Kraft Mac and Cheese on kids menus - 100 Days of Real Food

From Kraft: We appreciate the opportunity to share this information with you.

Our Response: Sharing this information with us does not address our petition nor does it address our concerns for the health of Americans. We request that Kraft listen to the (228k+) people signing our petition and the families who have reached out to us directly in concern.

We’ve received numerous letters from parents and people who have had dramatic improvements in the health of their families after removing artificial dyes. Here are just a few excerpts from these hundreds of letters – we hope this finally convinces Kraft to act and remove artificial dyes:

“Artificial dyes caused him to have tantrums that nobody could believe – after eating anything containing dye – absolutely any and everything could set him off into a tantrum and he would scream in such a state of rage that he was unreachable for approx. 50-60 minutes at a time.” – Tracy


“My son had very bad eczema along with hyper activity when he was younger. After years of expensive medicine and creams for his skin we decided to stop eating foods with dyes in them. The results were astounding. I had a much more manageable child with beautiful skin.” – Renee


“My 5 year old son, has horrible reactions to artificial dyes. We’ve always been very cautious about what we eat, we don’t buy products that contain artificial ANYTHING, but we used to let him partake in treats at parties that contain artificial colorings, until we realized the random violent outbursts he was having came only after consuming artificial dyes. Normally, he is a very sweet soul, but the day after Halloween, when we had allowed him to eat skittles, he had a violent outburst in class where he threw a chair. A CHAIR. His teachers were shocked, so were we.” – Emily


“We struggled for over 2 years, trying various strategies to stop the tantrums, teach him to self-soothe and calm himself when overstimulated, and help him sleep through the night again. Nothing worked until we eliminated artificial food dyes from his diet when he was 4 1/2 years old. We saw dramatic results just 5 days after eliminating them. He started sleeping through the night consistently for the first time since he was a baby, and his intense and long-lasting tantrums also disappeared.” – Jennifer


“My 5 old daughter is hypersensitive to food dyes which we didn’t discover until we took them away. Her behavior was off the charts fighting, screaming, and just plain unhappy. We removed artificial food from her diet, she became a different child. She is happy and compliant. But if she has any thing containing food dye, she losses her mind and will begin to scream, fight, hit the halls. Finally at the age of 5 she is able to tell me when she has a headache and its alway after having something containing artificial food dye at school. This can’t be just a coincidence!! I mean every time my daughter has artificial food dye she is in pain!” – Kelli


“My 14 year old daughter was diagnosed with eczema when she was 3 months old. We have been to many Doctors and have had way too many prescriptions. The triggers for this condition are many. The major ones that we have found that bother her are artificial dyes. As you can imagine, it is very difficult to keep all of them out of our homes. It is something that we need to be mindful of everyday if she wants to stay healthy. I truly believe that all dyes should be banned for our food supply today. Not only our food supply but also from medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.” – Kerry


“One of my sons is allergic to artificial food dye…to the point of it being life-threatening. His breathing becomes labored, he becomes lethargic and we must have (dye-free) Benadryl and an EPI Pen Jr. on hand at all times. Fortunately, we try to eat very naturally so we were able to identify the issue fairly quickly. However, it’s very difficult to protect him from artificial food dye in public, i.e. visiting friends/family, church, schools, etc. It would be a relief to this momma if artificial food dye were out of U.S. food products. ” – Jen


“My son has Aspergers, a form of autism. Food dyes significantly affect his behavior sometimes leading to explosive tantrums. Red dye #40 causes aggression and self injury. Blue #2 and yellow #5 affect his communication and emotional state. Basically, he becomes nasty and grumpy. Unable to tell us how he is really feeling, this behavior leads to tantrums. Food dye is not allowed in my house. Why do I care if other children eat it? Because until people are fully educated on the side effects of the poison they feed their children they are not able to make rational choices.” – Michele


“My son is adversely affected by artificial colors. Several months ago we removed all foods with artificial colors and flavorings from his diet to see if his behavior would improve. We were amazed to find that by removing these from his diet he has a better attention span and is less fidgety. If there is ever a time when he does eat something with these dyes in it, after about 20 minutes I can tell.” – Christie


“My 2 year old daughter breaks out in hives from artificial food dyes.” – Katie


“We were having a hard time with his behavioral outbursts when I read an article on how food dyes can often effect kids with ADHD. I decided for the heck of it to remove them from our home. We already eat pretty healthy, but Mac and Cheese was one thing that my son loved and was willing to eat. I switched to the organic brand Annie’s and also now read every thing I buy. If it contains any food coloring at all, we don’t buy it. Within a month my son completely changed. His erratic behavior was gone and he was able to focus a lot more on tasks. His stimming (self stimulating behaviors that you see with Autism) also decreased significantly. ” – Lori

We hope you join us and demand this change by signing this petition now and sharing it with as many people as you know. Together we can make our voices heard!

With Much Love,

Lisa with 100DaysofRealFood.com and Vani with FoodBabe.com


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!

About The Author

199 thoughts on “Our Response to Kraft’s Letter: It’s Time to Surrender Your Artificial Dyes”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Can you please list the names of artificial food dyes we should avoid? This would really help me!Thanks!! Love what you’re doing!!!

  2. I do not have children, but I am thankful there are articles out there like this because as someone who is trying to eat healthier for myself and cook meals that are more healthy for us, and who’s husband LOVES mac and cheese, and is eating it now as a snack, THIS got my attention. For those of us who are just starting to learn how unhealthy processed foods are, I am thankful the authors took the time to write this. Thank you and blessings to you and please write more.

  3. Of course their highest priority is their bottom line. They’re not a charity, they are a for-profit business. The will never modify their cash cow when millions of satisfied consumers happily buy it and falls well within FDA regulations. That’s just not how brands operate.

  4. Can we get this petition up on https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/ ? I believe that this is not only major neglect on the part of the Kraft company and other food companies but that it is a basic legal problem. Why is the FDA approving of substances that they recognize can be harmful to human health? Although the companies are at fault for including the dyes in their products technically they are obeying the law. Shouldn’t America hold it’s companies to the highest possible standard? I know there are a lot of politics that can get in the way of things like this; however, I believe we are at the beginning of a food revolution in America. A revolution that is long overdue and can only continue by providing information like this to the most possible people.

    Lisa and Vani please re-post your petition from change.org to the government petition website, it is not my article/words to post so I feel uncomfortable acting on my own.

    Thank you for bringing such an important and under-recognized topic to light in the public eye. We as an American people should no longer turn a blind eye to or be ignorant of what is in our food.

  5. sorry this isn’t about dyes, but I just wanted to say for a healthier version of mac & cheese, swap out half (or all) of the butter for pureed sweet potato (little baby food jar).
    It’s awesome.

  6. I posted this on your back book page last night, but it looks like it may have gotten lost;

    You had twice the amount of signatures needed on your Kraft Mac and Cheese petition than needed to get a response from the government on their petition site. I think you should petition the government to prohibit all artificial food dyes in all food sold in the US. You obviously have a huge reach. :-)


    Let me also add that it’s not just processed food that they put dye into. I believe I read once that they put dye into oranges and cucumbers (or pickles) to make them look “more appealing” to consumers. As hard as I try to make healthy choices for my family it would really just help if the US banned artificial dyes. One more thing we all wouldn’t need to worry about.


    1. Do you work for Kraft?

      I’m offended by your comment. I can’t imagine how Lisa and Vani feel. We have to be advocates for our health and our children’s health. Obviously our food regulation bodies aren’t doing the job.

      Yes, spending time COOKING REAL FOOD for you kids is great. Creating a petition and contacting a CRAPPY FOOD COMPANY about removing additives that can harm all children in America who consume this productive, pure greatness.

      Maybe you won’t get the message unless I use all capital letters.


      Tell me how that is WASTE OF TIME!

    2. Yes, but are we only concerned about our children? By not feeding our children Kraft Mac & Cheese, does that mean all children in the US stop eating it? What’s wrong with asking a company to rid their products of potentially harmful ingredients for the good of others. How could this campaign be interpreted as anything but good? I find it selfless.

  8. I just heard this on NPR this afternoon! Maybe creating a “gray market” for selling the UK versions of Mac & Cheese in the US at a discounted price is what Kraft needs to nudge them in the right direction to clean up their products.

  9. I just finished reading Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. I did not think it was possible to be more sickened by the food industry. People should not buy them but they do and it since it is marketed right to the kids it is great that you made the effort to try and make a change.

  10. Since this is a “real food” blog, why are you spending so much time focusing on the junk food that you do not promote eating in the first place? Even if Kraft starts using alternatives, people still should not be buying these products.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi R.N. We completely agree that people should not be eating boxed processed food. That is, after all, what this blog is about. Our petition is about beginning to demand changes within our food system and educating people about what really goes into the food they are, often thoughtlessly, consuming. One step forward. ~Amy

  11. What I hope comes of this? Change. If nothing else comes from this, at least we are getting people talking and educated. I agree with some previous posts that we need to let Kraft know we are serious by boycotting their products, ALL their products. Listed on their website is a list of other companies that are owned or distributed by Kraft. While I will miss Triscutts and Philadelphia cream cheese, I am using my consumer dollar to make a point. Take a look.

  12. 100 Days and Food Babe…thank you for leading the charge on this important issue. We are lucky and grateful for your steadfast leadership to overhaul our nation’s food system.

  13. Real quick. I hope you understand eugenics. If you don’t look it up and understand these companies are all owned by an increasingly fewer group who also control our governments and lobby for laws that only help their bottom line. These companies have owners and our political leaders have a belief that we are the problem and there needs to be less of us. That is why they don’t care about what you are doing. I applaud you but I think your efforts are misdirected. Say they remove the dye, we will be slaves soon but we and our kids will have artificial dye free Mac-n-cheese because we did not notice our rights being removed and our representative republic being replaced with a “democracy”. A simple analogy of a democracy is mob screaming kill him. The majority rule? With our rights or trial… United we stand, divided we fall.

  14. Dear Kraft,
    One of my own favorite childhood memories is the first time I got to make a batch of Kraft mac n cheese with one of my best friends. And I have a crappy memory. But I dearly remember waiting for that pot to boil, then adding the macaroni, then staring at the timer…

    My son will never see that day. He has no food allergies, actually. It just pisses me off that you won’t try harder for the Too Many To Count of the rest of the population to make the changes you should.

    We’ve been buying Annie’s Organic since my son was born 5 years ago. Losing one customer doesn’t matter much, but if enough of us make the switch, it sure could…

  15. wow, very eye-opening testimonials about artificial food colors..I am just in the beginning process of removing this stuff from my kids’ diets and it is NOT easy with friends and family bringing them treats or just having them over for a snack or meal. I don’t want to be the crazy mom (or the mean mom) but it is an encouragement that we are doing the right thing reading this.

  16. I live in Latin America and I always wondered why so many of the american products I see at the grocery store here are labeled with “For export only”, these are even unhealthier than the ones in the US!

  17. So I just caved in and bought a tiny bag of Cadbuy mini eggs.. kind of hate that I love them so, but I figure once a year it’s fine. Anyway, looking at the ingredients and all the artificial flavors.. and it occurred to me that Cadbury is from the UK originally, so I checked the UK version – far fewer ingredients and no artificial colorings. This is so frustrating.

  18. It never ceases to amaze me on how we are being poisoned due to corporate greed.. I commend and support your cause.. If “We the People” don’t stand up and speak out, our politicians surely won’t.. I am a bit surprised.. I thought after the airing of this segment on Dr. Oz your petition would have easily topped the one million mark.. Why hasn’t this number moved much?

  19. Unfortunately just telling these companies we don;t want their artificial food has done nothing. Their bottom line is more important to them so we must vote with our money. I have choosen not to buy any food or skin contact products since last December that contain these ingredients. My kids are calmer and their teachers see a huge difference in their behavior/work at school. My lifelong skin rash has cleared up. Doctors and medicine did nothing but cutting out artificial food ingredients cleared it up for the first time ever. My son who had seemingly permanent GI problems was also suddenly cured by diet not doctors. All my trust in companies making prepared products and the FDA is totally gone.

  20. A few weeks ago, my fifteen year old son had several friends over and was clearly trying to sneak something into the house. Immediately suspicious, I demanded to know what was behind his back. Reluctantly, he revealed the contraband: Double-stuffed Oreos. For years, we had boycotted anything owned by Philip Morris: all Kraft products, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, any package with Nabisco’s red triangle in the corner–including Oreos. He and his brother had always come with me to the grocery store and understood why we chose not to buy certain products. I think that they felt part of a cause. I have to say that I am happy (and relieved–he’s fifteen!) that my son considers buying a food he remembers as banned in our house an act of rebellion.

  21. Jennifer Zeikus

    Does the U.K. version use annatto to make it yellow? Unfortunately although it’s natural, annatto is a major allergen. Great video!

  22. What I don’t understand is that healthier products are more expensive. Oh, I know WHY, but you would think that there would be some reasoning in making these more affordable. I try to buy as healthy as I can and often pass up “favorites” because of the crap that is them. I no longer but the powdered mac n cheese for a number of reasons. My husband and I have often talked about the artificial colors and flavors in foods and how ridiculous it is to have them. He said he could care less what color his food is and I agree. I really try to watch what I buy but sometimes it is so hard! I also have a child with Aspergers and am now wondering if his outburts are related to color additives. I never thought of that before.

  23. I gave my son Kraft Mac and cheese when he was around one and the tummy ach and diaper that followed was horrifying. I told everyone that watched him not to give it to him because of the bad reaction and someone did not listen. I new as soon as I opened the diaper he had been given Mac and cheese and I asked the person and they looked baffled that I caught them. I know this type of reaction doesn’t happen to other kids but I will never buy the Kraft Mac and cheese again. At restrurants they don’t always advertise the brand they use and if they don’t we normally assume they make it themselves, normally we are right, but when we are wrong we are always disappointed. It’s a long night and gross diapers afterwards. I hope they will change their recipe so its better for children here in the U.S.

  24. Forgive me for not having read all the comments prior to adding my own but I just wanted to chime in on this issue. First and foremost, thank you for your efforts. I think by making this issue public in terms of safety and in terms of the desires of many to have processed food that is safe for our families, you are doing a wonderful thing.
    However, I feel you are shooting the messenger. It is our government that allows these things to be in our food, allows chemical companies to hold our agriculture hostage by genetically modifying food and then claiming it as “intellectual property”. The short story is that we cannot trust food manufacturers to be transparent. They will cite scientific chapter and verse that it is safe. We will not change the thought process of the food industry unless we change their bottom line. I sleep better knowing that I am lessening their bottom line.

  25. I think we need to petition the FDA. All corporations do what is going to make them the most profit. Kraft is following the law. Whole Foods and Trader Joes don’t sell Kraft because they believe the way for them to make profit is to carve out a niche. The mass food producers look at their bottom dollar, because they make their money these days from the stock market. Profit makes profit, not natural, that costs more and hurts stock market values. The FDA and our country have to change back to when we were leaders, not wrongdoers for profit.

  26. I’ve decided to bring next-to-nothing into my home if it has a label. OK, there are a few things, but if ANYTHING on the label is an “unknown” entity, or would be more likely to be found in a chemistry lab. than in a home food garden I don’t want it! If Great Grandmother didn’t have it– I DON”T WANT IT! Dyes? Nope. Artificial flavors? Nope. Preservatives? Nope. Bleached anything, sweeteners, flavor ‘enhancers’ or any “non-food” items… it’s not coming in to my home. PERIOD! My brand new precious husband and I have no “but ALL the other kids parents let THEM have it” or “but I REALLY like that stuff” pressures, so now WE are #1 and WE COUNT! AND WE VOTE! Tahhh Dahhh! Take THAT FDA.. you are NOT our friends! The FDA is not our friends regarding foods NOR regarding drugs. I say “DISSOLVE THE FDA!” They are ROBBING us of our HEALTH! Throw ’em OUT!

  27. This is why you must be careful who you vote for in congressional elections. Get your local congress person’s stance on FDA regulation. If they are “aganist regulation” because it “hurts corporate business.” Then, you know where their interest lies, and it’s not with your child’s health!

  28. Life Cereal has the same issue – I emailed them to see why they insist on using Yellow 5 instead of just having brown cereal like Cheerios. They cited the same “quality” reasons and “attractiveness” of the food – I would think most people would rather have less attractive cereal that poses less of a health risk!

  29. I am not surprised at their response. They gave me the same BS response when I emailed them earlier this year about their bulls eye BBQ sauce adding high fructose corn syrup. I hope you ladies make a load roar so that the big box companies have to listen. Thank you for the encouragement ladies.

  30. Thank you both for bringing this to the forefront so others can learn what REALLY is in the processed foods we are sold as “acceptable”. It is sickening to think that we can’t have the same level of safety that people in our countries have just because its deemed “acceptable” by the FDA.

    Another item to beware of:
    Propylene Glycol (aka Airplane deicer/ANTIFREEZE) is included in OUR foods, our DOG foods and treats (but is BANNED from cat foods/treats), our cosmetics and hair products …. Check your labels. It’s in drink mixes such as Mio, baby wipes, baby toothpaste, mouthwash, nail polish, vapor rubs, lip liners, perfumes, eye drops, and so many other things. (Google “GOOD GUIDE propylene Glycol information” for a list of items and brands)

    Because of numerous food recalls on meats, ingredient lists that look more like a science project than dinner, numerous trips to emergency rooms by previously unknown allergies/sensitivities to chemically based foods, and now all the dyes and chemicals originally meant for running our transportation vehicles not to drink…our home has gone vegetarian and back to the basics: using cookbooks that have ingredients one can identify by food group in its original form. The result? Food that tastes awesome and a healthier family.

  31. The problem is people blindly trust the FDA to be the gatekeeper for our foods and drugs. When I try to talk to people about food issues, it is almost like they are sticking their fingers in their ears. They always tell me the FDA wouldn’t allow foods with dangerous ingredients. Screaming… Really? People are led like sheep to their slaughter.

  32. Haven’t read through all the comments, so sorry if this is redundant. We don’t buy KD anything. We buy Annie’s Homegrown pastas– macaronis or shells etc. Pretty much everything in them is good stuff (a little bit of salt sometimes, but it’s way down at the bottom of the ingredients list). A little bit more expensive, but so worth it on busy days, and our picky 2-1/2 year old LOVES all varieties. Maybe if enough people switched Kraft would notice?

  33. Allison Cope Israels

    Thank you for bringing to the attention of not only the American public but all over the world the impact that artificial dyes have on the average person. Both my 7 year old son and husband have sensitivities to these items. We have been following the Feingold Diet for 2 years now and it has impacted them both extremely greatly! My son has had greater success in his attention span and concentration levels and my husband can actually sit at his desk at work and concentrate purely on his task at hand. We need to teach these companies that we no longer will tolerate these substances in our food and no longer buy their products containing them. I have gone as far as ordering items such a coloured candies from Britain just so my son has some appropriate treats to eat. Best of luck with your petition!