April 4, 2013
CHICAGOOn April 1, Kraft Foods executives met with food blogger Vani Hari, a.k.a. Food Babe," who delivered more than 270,000 petition signatures to the companys headquarters in Northfield, Ill., asking the Kraft to remove yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6 from its Macaroni & Cheese products sold in the United States.
The Change.org petition was started last month by Hari and another food blogger, Lisa Leake, who said the artificial colors present potential health concerns, including hyperactivity in children, migraines and asthma. They compared the U.S. version with a similar Kraft food product sold in the United Kingdom, where due to a different set of regulations regarding additives, the product utilizes beta carotene and paprika for coloration instead of yellow dyes.
Prior to the one-hour meeting with Kraft executives, Hari held a taste test outside a downtown Chicago supermarket, giving consumers the opportunity to sample the UK version of Kraft's "Cheesey Pasta," made without artificial dyes.
In an e-mail to Food Product Design, Kraft Foods Spokesperson Lynne Galia said the company remains committed to offering choices and pointed out that Kraft offers 14 varieties of Mac & Cheese with natural colors or no colors at all.
At the same time, many people love the great taste of Original KRAFT Mac & Cheese just the way it is, so well continue to offer that choice as well," she said.
The artificial colors allowed in foods in the U.S., including the Yellow #5 and #6 used in some KRAFT Mac & Cheese varieties, are some of the most well-studied ingredients. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed them safe for use in food. Other experts, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have reached a similar conclusion. Scientific consensus on safety is very important when we look at what ingredients to use."
Commenting on the meeting, Hari said: Kraft told us they can't predict the future of dyes in Macaroni & Cheese. I can give them a preview: if Kraft is anything like the hundreds of other companies facing a consumer uprising online, theyll eventually start listening to their customers and work with us to ensure the health and safety of all Kraft Macaroni & Cheese products."
Hari said she and Leake were inspired by a teenager Sarah Kavanaghs Change.org petition asking PepsiCo to stop using brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in its Gatorade. BVO, used to prevent some flavors of the drink from separating, has been associated with possible neurological disorders and altered thyroid hormones. It has been banned in some other countries. That petition attracted more than 200,000 backers and last month PepsiCo announced it would remove the ingredient, saying its decision wasnt linked to Kavanaghs petition.
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