Two concerned mothers/food bloggers launched a petition against Kraft’s artificial food dyes, yellow #5 and yellow #6, on Tuesday. Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food and Food Babe’s Vani Hari became concerned when they learned the dyes used to color Kraft’s "Cheesiest" mac and cheese contain carcinogens, substances linked to causing cancer. They sent the petition to Kraft Foods executives when they found out that the dyes are not used in Europe’s Kraft "Cheesey Pasta" and that they are even banned in Norway and Austria.
"This is an important issue to tackle because Kraft mac and cheese is an iconic food product," Leake said in the change.org petition video. In the video, the two women go on to explain the dangers of food dyes and taste test U.K.’s dye free Kraft Cheesey Pasta, and the United State’s Kraft "The Cheesiet" Macaroni and Cheese. They found that both products looked and tasted virtually the same.
Although yellow #5 and yellow #6 are two of the nine FDA-approved food dyes in the United States, the women do not think the two yellow dyes (or any dyes at all) should be used to color food because they add no nutritional or flavor value. The two women also claim that food dyes are known to cause hyperactivity in children, have a negative impact on children’s ability to learn, and are linked to asthma, skin rashes, and migraines.
ABC’s chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, does not believe Leake and Hari should be concerned. "The studies that have looked at this are not very strong. There’s nothing I see that raises a real concern about these dyes," he said.
The petition against Kraft is only the beginning for the two ladies who hope that one day, food dyes will be completely banned in the United States. It currently has 161,307 signatures.
Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer at the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.