Entries in Food Dye (3)


Mom to Kraft: Take Yellow Dye Out of Mac and Cheese

Courtesy Vani Hari and Lisa Leake(NEW YORK) -- Lisa Leake's children used to love the taste of Kraft's Mac & Cheese, the bright orange pasta that comes in the signature blue box.  But she began to worry about the additives -- yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6, which she says add nothing to the flavor and may be dangerous to kids' health.

Leake and fellow North Carolina food blogger Vani Hari did some investigating and found that Kraft makes the same Mac & Cheese for its consumers in the United Kingdom, but because of stricter rules regarding additives, it is dye-free.

There, Kraft uses natural beta carotene and paprika to make it almost the same color.

Leake and Hari say the yellow dye serves only "aesthetic purposes."  They say they worry that food colorings have been associated with hyperactivity in children, allergies, migraine and, because yellow dyes are petroleum-based, maybe cancer.

Now, the two women have posted a petition on, asking Kraft to offer Americans the same additive-free Mac & Cheese they sell in Europe.  So far, the petition has 25,000 signatures and growing.

Leake and Hari, both 35, taste-tested the two versions of Mac & Cheese and posted it on YouTube.  They said they found "virtually no difference" in color or taste. Leake said her children actually liked the U.K. version better.

"We know it could cause harm and doesn't add any benefit, so there is no reason to put it in there," said Leake, who writes the blog 100 Days of Real Food and whose daughters are 5 and 8.  "Kraft has already formulated a version without it.  We tasted it on camera and they taste the same."

The women wrote a letter to Kraft executives asking them to take the yellow dyes out of the American version.

Kraft spokesperson Lynne Galia responded to ABC News in an email, saying, "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," she said.  "So in the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food use by the Food and Drug Administration."

Knowing that some Americans "prefer foods without certain ingredients," Kraft said it provides at least 14 other Mac & Cheese products without added colors and with natural food colors.

The yellow dyes have been banned in countries like Norway and Austria and are being phased out in the United Kingdom, according to the petition.

"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," said Hari in the petition.  "Our kids deserve the same safer version that our friends get overseas."

Both yellow dyes in question are fully legal and approved by the FDA, which is responsible for food safety.  More than 3,000 additives are approved for food.

"Today, food and color additives are more strictly studied, regulated and monitored than at any other time in history," according to the FDA website on the topic.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Artificial Food Dye: Delicious or Dangerous?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Kim Snedden was at her wits end. Her son Sam was constantly frustrated and angry, easily distracted and annoyed.

At the suggestion of a neighbor in 2008 Snedden decided to try eliminating foods with artificial dyes from her family's diet. She purged the house of products like Froot Loops, Pop Tarts and Cheetos and refused to feed her family anything with "Red 40", "Yellow 5" or other manmade dyes in the ingredients list.

"For maybe two days we went dye free and on the third day I had a new family and I knew that was the answer. In three days I had a whole new scenario at home," she said.

Sam, now 13, was doing better in school and his moods had improved drastically.

Eliminating dye does not mean eliminating sugar, Snedden said. Naturally colored fruit jellies, dye-free "Fruitful O's" -- similar to Froot Loops -- and Frito Lay chips are still fair game.

The safety of artificial food dyes has come under serious scrutiny lately at the federal level. The Food and Drug Administration's Food Advisory Committee met Thursday in response to a 2008 letter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urging the food regulatory committee to ban eight of the nine FDA-approved dyes. Citing a lack of scientific evidence to prove their connection to increased hyperactivity, the panel voted Thursday 11 to 3 against banning the dyes.

Artificial dyes are found in everything from M&Ms to many types of applesauce. In fact, it is difficult to find processed foods that do not have the dyes. For example, Quaker oatmeal squares and Vlasic sweet pickles have Yellow 5, Nutrigrain bars have Red 40, and Kraft marshmallows have Blue 1.

Food companies argue the dyes are perfectly safe ways to enhance the visual appearance of food.

"Food colors are used to brighten colorless foods, enhance existing color or make up for color losses which occur when food is exposed to air, light, moisture and variations in temperature," said Kraft spokesperson Valerie Moens. "The colors we use have gone through independent scientific review in regards to their safety."

Moens said the company is trying to extend their product line to include more foods with only natural coloring in response to customer demands.

The Mars company, which manufactures M&Ms and other candies, stands by the safety of artificial dye, but is also trying to phase them out in favor of natural colors.

"We have absolute confidence in the safety of all the natural and artificial ingredients we use, as does the FDA and other leading food safety regulators globally," a Mars spokesperson said. "We are continuing to look at the use of natural colors, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Keep in mind, though, that this is not a process that can happen overnight."

While multiple studies have been done on artificial dyes, none have found an inextricable link between hyperactivity and food dye.

"I think the FDA review has been very compelling. It's been very comprehensive," said Sean Taylor, the scientific director of the International Association of Color Manufacturers. "And I think their conclusions are that there seems to be a small subset of the population that has a unique intolerance possibly to foods in general. There could be a small subset of consumers that have a unique intolerance to food additives, food colors, we really don't know at this point."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


FDA Committee Begins Weighing in on Food Dye's Link to ADHD

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING) -- The Food and Drug Administration will begin a two-day meeting Wednesday to determine whether food coloring and other additives can make children hyperactive.

The administration's Food Advisory Committee will meet in Silver Spring, Maryland to consider any links between the man-made dyes and ADHD, and advise the FDA if there is a need to take action to protect consumer safety.

Back in 2008, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the agency to revoke approvals for eight certified colorings, asking the FDA to issue a consumer warning in the interim.  The dyes in question were FD&C Blue 1 and 2; FD&C Green 3, Orange B, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 5 and 6.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio