Kraft Rejects Consumers: Controversial Artificial Colors Staying in Mac & Cheese

After gathering more than 270,000 signatures petitioning the use of artificial colors in Kraft’s Mac & Cheese, food blogger Vani Hari—better known as the Food Babe—hand delivered the requests to the company, but failed to get a satisfactory response.

Hari, along with fellow blogger Lisa Leake, started the petition to remove the artificial colors present in the nation’s top-selling boxed macaroni and cheese product. Kraft sells artificial food coloring-free versions in countries including the U.K., but refuses to make the shift here in the U.S., even despite Hari’s petition.

During the campaign, Hari and Leake let consumers sample both the US and UK versions of Kraft’s Mac & Cheese and the consumers were unable to tell the difference both in taste and appearance. The UK version gets its bright orange color from annatto and paprika, rather than the artificial colors.

Kraft maintains its position that despite regulations in other countries, the dyes—including Yellow #5 and #6—are safe. And the company says it already offers 14 versions of Macaroni & Cheese in the US market that do not contain artificial colors.

Hyperactivity in children has been linked to artificial food colors, including Yellows #5 and #6, which is what ultimately led to the UK consumer outcry and reformulation by Kraft. The EFSA said products that contain the ingredients should, at a minimum, include warning labels noting that the products “may have an effect on activity and attention inc children.”

A 2011 FDA hearing on the matter ultimately concluded that a link between ADHD and the food dyes had not yet been established.

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Image: Jeepers Media