Before we started our journey toward a real food lifestyle, we were not healthy eaters. We ate out a lot, I rarely cooked, and most things I did cook came out of a box. The one thing that I did try to avoid was artificial food dyes. Not because I necessarily thought that they were terrible for us, but because they made Luke act crazy. If I gave him Kool-Aid or a sucker he would change from a state of calm into a crazy fit of toddler tantrum. I’m probably overexaggerating, but the difference in his behavior was noticeable. I had no idea that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contained food dyes either. I was under the impression that it was only in candy and drinks, not in actual food. I also didn’t know that they were derived from petroleum. Gross.
It is widely believed that artificial dyes cause hyperactivity in children, so apparently Luke isn’t the only one. Some doctors support this theory while others do not, but after Halloween candy this year I have seen Will act in much the same way Luke did. These artificial dyes are not allowed in food in many other countries and must have warning labels in even more. Companies use them because it is cheaper to use a yellow chemical dye than to use paprika to dye something yellow. Higher profit margin for them, health consequences for the public.
In March, Vani Hari the Food Babe and Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food created this petition on Change.org requesting that Kraft remove artificial dyes from its macaroni and cheese, as it has done for the UK. They responded by stating that some of their varieties do not contain dye. The problem is that all of the ones marketed toward children DO contain artificial dyes. The products that use natural dyes are either not readily available or the homestyle versions. Certainly nothing in the blue box. Vani Hari took 270,000 signatures to Kraft headquarters, which you can read about here, and it was a big step. But nothing happened… until now!
Kraft released that they will be removing the artificial dyes from three versions of their macaroni and cheese marketed toward children, Sponge-bob, Halloween, and winter shapes. They will also be adding two more dye-free products. Is it enough? No. Is it a start? Absolutely!
It goes to show that little by little, concerned citizens are changing our food system to make it healthier for ourselves and our children. That is not only encouraging, it is something to be proud of.
Until our next adventure,