North Carolina moms Lisa Leake and Vani Hari have a bone to pick with Kraft. They’re calling out America’s favorite cheese company for using Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 artificial dyes in its macaroni and cheese products. In an online petition posted last week, the pair called on Kraft to remove those artificial colors from its products.
They’ve got a point. Both dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children, migraines and asthma by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and have been banned outright in Norway and Austria. Kraft’s British version of Macaroni & Cheese omits both dyes all together, and achieves that signature yellow color by natural beta carotene and paprika, a much safer option. In a segment on ABC News, Leake said that when she taste-tested the two products she found “virtually no difference.” And get this: her children even preferred the dye-less U.K. version.
The Change.org petition went live last Tuesday, and boy did people respond. Within 48 hours, it had already received over 50,000 signatures that have all been sent to Kraft food execs.
On Wednesday, Kraft associate director Lynne Galia responded in a written statement, saying:
“We know some people prefer foods without certain ingredients. We now offer a multitude of products without added colors, as well as products with natural food colors.”
But Leake and Hari fired back saying that around 30 products still contain the dangerous yellow dyes and posted the following on their petition:
“This is unfair to the children lured by these products (several packages showcase cartoon characters), unfair to the less fortunate who buy these products because they are cheaper, and unfair to the uneducated consumer that is unaware of these harmful ingredients.”
As of today, the petition has over 214,897 signatures and counting.