For anyone who grew up in the United States of Cheese-Loving America, Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese likely made at least a few appearances on the plate at mealtimes. Picky kids are often convinced to eat dinner just at the sight of the bright orange noodles in various shapes and it’s a better alternative than say, 30 packets of ketchup or whatever else they want to eat. But two of the yellow dyes used in the product have been banned in Europe, prompting two bloggers to petition Kraft to stop using those additives.
It might look like an innocent pile of pasta and powdered cheese made sauce, but in the Change.org petition the two women say stricter food safety rules in Europe made them wonder why consumers on this side of the pond aren’t being protected from the same ingredients.
The additives in question are yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6, that reportedly serve “aesthetic purpose” only and aren’t used in some European countries due to health concerns. The petition points out research from the Center for Science in the Public Interest that says the pair of dyes have been associated with hyperactivity in children, migraines, allergies and even perhaps cancer as the dyes are petroleum-based.
As of this writing, 152,861 signatures have been added to the two-day old petition. There are other foods that contain ingredients that are banned in Europe, notes one of the women (via USA Today).
“But Kraft is an iconic American brand,” she says, adding that they chose to call out Kraft because “we wanted to make sure we targeted (a company) that could set an example of providing safer foods, eliminating ingredients that are bad for health reasons, and get away from this double standard.”
A Kraft spokesperson said in a statement: “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.”
She points out a line of Kraft offerings that don’t have added colors, but that’s not enough for the petitioners.
“If they say safety is their highest priority, why still use a questionable ingredient that has a warning label when used in Europe?” asks one. “It doesn’t make us feel that it’s their highest concern.”
Such consumer petitions can make a big impact on large companies, including a petition by a 15-year-old asking PepsiCo to remove a controversial ingredient form its Gatorade. It did, but said it wasn’t because of the teen’s efforts.