Canadians join crusade to remove orange dyes from Kraft Dinner

TORONTO – Would a bowl of Kraft Dinner taste the same without its iconic neon orange hue?

Tens of thousands of Canadians are joining a growing movement urging Kraft Foods to remove the controversial dyes that colour the mac and cheese dish a glowing orange in the popular comfort food.

At the centre of the controversy are Yellow #5 – also called tartrazine, and found in the Canadian product – and Yellow #6, included in the American box.

North Carolina bloggers who circulated the petition say these ingredients are man-made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum. These food dyes require a warning label in other countries, the petition says.

To date, 275,000 people have signed the petition and Canadians make up 10 per cent of the cause.

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Food bloggers Vani Hari and Lisa Leake began the petition after they say they discovered the dyes are already banned in many countries – The United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, for example.

Watch their video here:

“These unnecessary – yet potentially harmful – dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry. Kraft reformulated their product for the UK, but not for their fellow American citizens,” the petition says.

The bloggers say that the U.K. version tastes the same as its North American counterpart, so the artificial dyes aren’t enhancing taste, only adding dangerous chemicals to our food.

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Yellow #5 can cause hyperactivity in children and even triggers asthma, hives and skin rashes, says a study published by food nutrition group Center for Science in Public Interest.

Within a week, the bloggers garnered 220,000 signatures.

A Canadian spokesperson for Kraft Foods said that the U.S. and Canadian versions of the pasta are different, but they do both contain tartrazine.

“The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously.  We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold. So in Canada, we only use colours that are approved and deemed safe for food use by Health Canada,” the company said in an email to Global News.

Meanwhile in response to the petition, Kraft Foods shot back insisting that it does use natural colouring in several varieties of mac and cheese.

In a statement, the company lists 14 options with natural colouring. The company says that those who are upset about the colouring should stay away from the original product and turn to these alternatives.

Meanwhile, “those of you who have told us you love Mac & Cheese just the way it is and don’t want us to change it one bit, just stick with the Original,” the response says.

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“Making ingredient changes isn’t as simple as it would seem.  All of the ingredients must work together to deliver the distinctive taste, appearance and texture people expect from Original KRAFT Mac & Cheese.  Our fans have made it clear they won’t settle for anything less.”

Sound off: Do you think Kraft should remove these dyes from its mac and cheese recipe? Tell us what you think on Facebook.

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