From Green Right Now Reports
The word is out that American food companies serve it up a little differently in countries that ban food dyes and other additives.
Take Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. In America, the iconic comfort food turns a brilliant orange when you add the cheese “packet” to the waiting macaroni, thanks to the addition of food dyes Yellow #5 and #6. (Though Kraft does offer some varieties of Mac and Cheese that forgo the dyes, see the list below.)
But elsewhere, say in Europe where laws ban the addition of certain food dyes and additives, traditional Mac & Cheese and a host of other foods take on subtler or slightly different hues. That’s because packaged food sellers tint their concoctions with colorants derived from foods, like berries, annatto and turmeric.
Annatto and turmeric will turn foods a pleasant orange-yellow hue, but this time the magic is almost certainly safe. Annatto can’t hurt you (that we know of). In fact, it contains helpful antioxidants.
Yellow food dyes, on the other hand, have a questionable health profile. They’ve been linked to allergic reactions and implicated in hyperactivity in kids, though the U.S. government says those studies are “inconclusive” and “inconsistent”.
Food bloggers Vani Hari and Lisa Leake noticed that Americans were getting shorted in the supermarket and subjected to cheap synthetic food dyes because the U.S. government allows these additives, even though global food companies have ready replacements.
They delivered their petition to the food giant today, asking Illinois-based Kraft to remove the yellow food dye from its hallmark product. Their petition, registered on Change.org, had gathered 270,000 signatures.
“If Kraft really wants to do right by their customers, like they’ve said, they’ll make their American products just as safe as their European ones.”
Hari and Leake grew concerned about the popular Kraft product after discovering that many countries ban the Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 artificial dyes and that the Center for Science in the Public Interest has linked the artificial colors to hyperactivity in children, migraines, and asthma.
“When we started our petition we knew we wouldn’t be able to change Kraft’s position overnight, said Lisa Leake, Hari’s co-starter on the Change.org petition. “This campaign is one piece of a large-scale food revolution. People are just starting to learn more about what’s in their food, and they don’t like finding out that products they feed to their children contain chemical dyes that Kraft could easily replace with natural substitutes.”
Kraft isn’t saying whether it will change its mainstay Mac & Cheese to remove food dyes. In an answer to the petitioners on its website, the company suggests that some consumers may not like such a change.
“All of the ingredients, including colors, work together to deliver the distinctive taste, appearance and texture people have come to expect and love from Original KRAFT Mac & Cheese,” the company writes.
But, the company notes, that those who are concerned can choose from other varieties of Mac & Cheese to avoid food dyes. Kraft makes 14 versions of Mac & Cheese that have no food dyes or are dyed naturally, including white cheddar and Organic varieties.
Here’s the list:
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Organic White Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Organic Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese White Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Alfredo
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Deluxe Original Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Deluxe Four Cheese
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Deluxe Sharp Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Homestyle Creamy Parmesan Alfredo
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Homestyle Sharp Cheddar and Bacon
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Homestyle Classic Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Homestyle Hearty Four Cheese
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Homestyle Bowl Southwest Tortilla
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Homestyle Bowl Creamy Broccoli with White Cheddar
- KRAFT Mac & Cheese Cup Alfredo