Kraft under pressure over ‘cancer-causing’ yellow food coloring in Macaroni & Cheese after 41,000 sign petition to ban additive

  • Mothers Lisa  Leake and Vani Hari have generated 41,482 signatures on a Change.org petition  demanding that Kraft remove two food dyes from its Macaroni &  Cheese
  • The two dyes –  yellow 5 and yellow 6 – are used only in the American version of the product,  and have been linked to hyperactivity in children, asthma, migraines and  cancer

By  Sadie Whitelocks

PUBLISHED: 10:59 EST, 7  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 17:44 EST, 7 March 2013

 

Two mothers have launched a campaign  demanding that Kraft remove the artificial food dyes in the U.S. version of its  Macaroni & Cheese

Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, both from North  Carolina, noticed that the brightly-colored pasta contains two synthetic  substances – yellow 5 and yellow 6 – that  add nothing to the flavor and may be dangerous to children’s health.

They also discovered that the Illinois-based  food giant makes the same product for consumers in UK but because of stricter  regulations regarding additives, it is dye-free.

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Finishing touch: The dyes - yellow 5 and yellow 6 - are used in the U.S. version of Macaroni & Cheese for aesthetic purposes and now thousands are campaigning for them to be removed  

Finishing touch: The dyes – yellow 5 and yellow 6 – are  used in the U.S. version of Macaroni & Cheese for aesthetic purposes and now  thousands are campaigning for them to be removed

Mrs Leake,35, and Ms Hari, 33, have launched  a Change.org petition titled Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese  which currently has 41,482 signatures.

In a video posted on the site they say that  the yellow dyes, which contain benzidine  4-amino-buphenyl, a man-made product derived from petroleum, are  used ‘solely for aesthetics’.

The go on to highlight that the colorants have  been linked to hyperactivity in children,  asthma, migraines and cancer.

Mrs Leake, whose children are aged five and  eight, said: ‘We  think this is an important issue to tackle because Kraft Macaroni & Cheese  is an iconic food product.

‘Everyone’s had it at one time or another. I  used to eat it… I used to feed it to my kids years ago and we think we deserve the same version that our friends overseas in the UK get  without artificial food dye.’

Spreading the word: Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, from North Carolina, have launched a campaign asking Kraft to remove the artificial food dyes in its U.S. version of Mac & Cheese 

Spreading the word: Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, from North  Carolina, have launched a campaign asking Kraft to remove the artificial food  dyes in its U.S. version of Mac & Cheese

Ms Hari points out that the dyes require warning labels in other countries outside of  the U.S. and have been in some European countries.

In the UK Kraft does not use the additives in  its version of Macaroni & Cheese, called Cheesy Pasta. Instead natural beta  carotene and paprika are added to achieve a yellow color.

In their home-made video the two women  taste-test both the U.S. and UK version of Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese. They  conclude that the two taste ‘virtually the same’ and ‘barely’ look  different.

In response to the mothers’ petition Kraft  said it produces at  least 14 other  Macaroni & Cheese-inspired products, such as sauces and toppings, which only  contain natural food colors.

Kraft Macaroni and CheeseKraft's Mac & Cheese

The UK version of Kraft”s Macaroni & Cheese –  called Cheesy Pasta – (left) while the U.S. offering contains two additives  which have been linked to hyperactivity in children, allergies and cancer  (right)

Spot the difference: After taste-testing both versions of Kraft's Macaroni & Cheese the two women concluded that they tasted 'virtually the same' and 'barely' looked different 

Spot the difference: After taste-testing both versions  of Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese the two women concluded that they tasted  ‘virtually the same’ and ‘barely’ looked different

A company spokesperson, Lynne Galia,  told  MailOnline: ‘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.’

In the U.S. seven artificial colorings are  permitted by the FDA, which is  responsible for food safety, these  include blue 1, blue 2, green 3, red 40, red 3, yellow 5 and yellow  6.

‘I used to eat it, I used to feed it to my kids and we  think we deserve the same version that our friends overseas in the  UK’

‘All additives are subject to ongoing safety  review as scientific understanding and methods of testing continue to improve.

‘Consumers should feel safe about the foods  they eat,’ the FDA states on its website.

Ms Hari and Mrs Leake say that they want U.S.  regulations on food additives to fall in line with the UK.

‘It was shocking to see hundreds of  ingredients that were banned in other countries and were used in  American  products,’ Ms Hari said.

‘A can of Pringles in the U.S. looks the same  as in the U.K. or Europe and the ingredients are totally different.’

For example, French fries at McDonald’s  in  the UK contained only potatoes, oil and salt, but in the  U.S. a preservative  was added.

Food giant: Illinois-based Kraft Foods was founded in 1903  

Food giant: Illinois-based Kraft Foods was founded in  1903

The women cite a report from the Center for  Science in the Public Interest, titled Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, which  outlines various studies on the health effects of food coloring.

The group concluded that the three most  widely used dyes – red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6 – are contaminated with  cancer-causing substances, while red 3 has been identified as a carcinogen by  the FDA but is still in commercial use.

Michael F. Jacobson, who co-authored the  study, said: ‘These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the  nutritional quality or safety of foods.

‘The Food and Drug Administration should ban  dyes, which would force industry to color foods with real food ingredients, not  toxic petrochemicals.’

Mrs Leake said she no longer lets her  children eat Macaroni & Cheese, but if the UK version of the product were  available in the U.S., she would put it back on the menu.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2289654/Kraft-pressure-cancer-causing-yellow-food-coloring-Macaroni-Cheese-41-000-sign-petition-ban-additive.html#ixzz2MvU09buV Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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  1. Pingback: We Probably Shouldn't Be Eating This Kraft Mac And Cheese | Stay At Home Brad

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