For the first time in the more than 2 weeks since we launched our petition asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese, Kraft has finally acknowledged our petition and the more than 270,000 who have signed it. (Transcript of video continues below)
Here is Our Video Response To Kraft’s Latest Letter Addressed to “Mac & Cheese Lovers”:
The Actual Letter Posted on Kraft’s Website (This was not sent to us directly):
Their response, posted on their website, states that 14 of their 45 or so varieties of macaroni and cheese do not contain artificial dyes and the ones that do contain dyes do not violate any FDA or European safety guidelines. However, they failed to mention that when these artificial dyes are used in Europe they require a warning label stating they “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
First of all, the macaroni and cheese options here in the US have the similar “blue box” look and every single version that is geared toward children, with cartoon characters and phrases like “cheddar explosion,” all contain petroleum-based yellow #5 and yellow #6. The average American consumer is not versed on reading and understanding ingredient labels so would not even be able to determine the difference among all these similar looking boxes and – more importantly – many likely don’t realize these dyes are the culprit when it comes to their child’s misbehavior and other health issues.
We’ve received hundreds of letters from consumers telling us how these artificial dyes have negatively impacted their children. And, coincidentally, just last week a friend of Lisa’s sent her message saying that her normally smart, kind, very obedient, and well-behaved child – who is in the gifted and talented program at her school – had a very strange and disturbing outburst and she wasn’t sure why. Their family normally eats pretty clean, but she happened to let her daughter have a store-bought treat and shortly thereafter she had a huge explosive meltdown. She said the last time a meltdown of this extreme occurred was also right after a similar store-bought snack – which after some discussion we determined both contained artificial dye. This is what she said in her message, “Her daughter’s actual FACE changed, her eyes became dark underneath and she became angry and irrational.” At one point – and she was even a little embarrassed to tell me this – her daughter “yelled, opened the door to the house, and ran outside uncontrollably.” Later that night she cried and said ‘Why did I do that mommy?’”
This is exactly why those telling us “Just don’t buy this mac and cheese anymore” won’t work. Because as we mentioned the average consumer doesn’t understand these artificial dyes are a problem ingredient and pose health risks and should be avoided. We have directly reached out to various executives at Kraft since day 1 of our petition through emails, voicemails and tweets. They continue to ignore us personally and all we’d like to do is meet with them to come to some sort of conclusion so we can all move on.
We even had our blog readers reach out to Kraft through social media and the Kraft customer service hotline. There were so many voice mail messages left at the headquarters that we were told by many that they couldn’t get through or even leave a message because their mailboxes were full. And by the looks of both the Kraft general and Kraft Mac and Cheese Facebook pages they have been overwhelmed with comments about this campaign, with over 95% of them asking Kraft to remove these artificial dyes from their mac and cheese, just like they’ve already done for their European customers.
One reader who attempted to call the Kraft headquarters was told that the organic version of Kraft Mac and Cheese was one option she could buy without the artificial dye – yet after the customer service rep did a quick search using her zip code he could not find that particular product within a 50-mile radius of her home. And she isn’t exactly out in rural America…she lives in one of the biggest cities in our country, Chicago, which also happens to be right where Kraft is headquartered!
Also, in Kraft’s response last week they claim that their customers don’t want them to make changes to this iconic product. Who are the people who want their mac and cheese with artificial dyes? These dyes, which only benefit the food manufacturer and not the customer, do not change the flavor or affect the nutritional value of the foods they are in. They are purely for cosmetic reasons only. So who are these consumers that Kraft says “won’t settle for anything less?” Clearly Kraft has already figured out a way to formulate their original recipe without artificial dyes for their customers in Europe. We made and tried both versions ourselves – and so did Dr. Oz on his show – and we all came to the same conclusion that they look and taste virtually the same.
We’d like to stress that Kraft has not only removed artificial dyes from their mac and cheese overseas, they have removed them – and replaced them with safer natural dyes – from almost ALL of their product lines including Lunchables, Trident Gum, Ritz Cheese Crackers, and Halls Cough Drops, just to name a few. And here in the US we are simply asking them to start with their flagship product, macaroni and cheese, which they reportedly sell 350 million boxes of per year. (No wonder they haven’t responded favorably to our petition yet.) But their lack of response is not going to stop us from trying to get them to take the lead on this small – yet significant and positive – change for our food industry.
If you want to get involved with our campaign to request that these artificial dyes be removed here are some things you can do to help:
- Sign and SHARE our petition at change.org/kraftyellow
- Contact Kraft headquarters to tell them how you feel about their response. You can call their general lines 800-323-0768 or 847-646-2000 or 800-431-1001 or one of the branding managers at 847.646.5734
- Tell them how you feel on their FB wall at https://www.facebook.com/kraftmacaroniandcheese or https://www.facebook.com/KraftFoods
- Send them a tweet at @kraftfoods or @kraftmacncheese
- Or email them at email@example.com, Noelle.OMara@kraftfoods.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, irene.Rosenfeld@kraftfoods.com, email@example.com,
- Vote with your dollars by choosing macaroni and cheese and other products from brands that do not use artificial dyes.
Thank you to everyone who is helping to support this campaign. We feel it’s an important one and, based on the more than quarter million signatures we’ve received at change.org/kraftyellow, clearly we are not alone. We can’t wait to celebrate with you when Kraft finally removes these unnecessary – yet potentially harmful – artificial dyes.
Food Babe & 100 Days of Real Food