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Mothers Ask Kraft to Take Out Dangerous Chemical Ingredient in the U.S

Update Date: Mar 07, 2013 11:09 AM EST

Kraft Foods Group Inc.'s instant macaroni and cheese can be found in many households throughout the nation. Despite being a popular choice for children and adults, the ingredients that go into making this comfort food can be dangerous. After a closer look into the ingredient panel, mothers Lisa Leake and Vani Hari noticed that Kraft uses Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in the United States, which give the macaroni and cheese the distinctive yellow hue. Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 have also been linked to causing cancer. Leake and Hari have created a petition on to urge Kraft to remove the two artificial dyes.

Leake and Hari expressed their concerns over these two ingredients that are not used that frequently in other countries. Leake and Hari were also surprised to find that the Kraft products sold in England do not contain these two dyes due to the specific food guidelines. In the United Kingdom, Kraft manufactures Cheesey Pasta, which gets its yellow-orange color from paprika extract and beta-carotene. According to the women, both Kraft products taste the same. Furthermore, some European nations that allow the use of Yellow 5 require the company to print a warning label informing consumers about the chemical additive. The mothers also pointed out that in Norway and Austria, the artificial dyes are banned completely. After the petition was uploaded, Kraft responded swiftly, stating that the company cares for its consumers.

"We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold," Kraft spokesperson Lynne Galia stated. "So in the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food by the Food and Drug Administration."

Leake and Hari stated that even though the artificial dyes are legal in the U.S., they still want the company to take out the chemicals for the safety of children, especially since Kraft products in other countries do not use the chemicals.

"We both grew up eating this product, Lisa used to feed it to her kids, and it's available at almost every grocery store across the country. Our kids deserve the same safer version that our friends get overseas," they wrote in the petition.

Yellow dyes are only some of the many FDA approved food additives, and according to the FDA, these dyes do not pose any harm and thus, do not need to be banned. Leake and Hari used the report done by the Center for Science in the Public Interest titled "Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks." The report revealed that Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 contain benzidine 4-amino-buphenyl, which comes from petroleum. This product can cause higher risks for hyperactivity in children and increase the chances of adrenal and testicular tumors. However, this report's findings were not considered conclusive because the study was too short.

The mothers also pointed out that there are several companies that manufacture safer food products in other countries because of food guidelines and laws. However, Leake and Hari are currently more focused on getting the chemicals out of Kraft's macaroni and cheese.

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