Mac and Cheese is an American staple.
But when food bloggers Lisa Leak and Vani Hari started investigating U.S. products using additives that are banned in other countries, they made Mac and Cheese a mission, starting with Kraft, one of the largest U.S.- based food companies.
"We were just pretty fired up about and we decided we wanted to do something," said Leak.
The Kraft European version is colored naturally with paprika and beta carotine.
"But in the version in the United States, which this one is geared toward children and this one has cartoon characters, they use petroleum based dyes that are made in a laboratory and it's yellow number 5 and yellow number 6," said Hari.
According to Leak and Hari, in Europe, those two ingredients require a warning label. They started a petition on change.org and created a video.
"They can potentially cause hyperactivity in children. They can negatively affect their ability to learn," said Leak.
The petition received tens of thousands of signatures and the bloggers garnered national media attention.
Kraft posted a letter saying the FDA has approved both dyes they use and reminding consumers they do offer several versions colored naturally here in the U.S. But Leake and Hari say that’s not good enough.
"We would ultimately like all the artificial dyes removed starting with this product” said Leak. “Hopefully that will lead to other changes with other products with other companies."
The bloggers cite research conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest that says the two food dyes have been associated with hyperactivity in children, allergies, migraines and, because yellow dyes are petroleum-based, perhaps cancer. However, the dyes are approved and deemed safe by the FDA.