Charlotte food blogger meets with Kraft over petition on artificial dyes

Charlotte food blogger meets with Kraft over petition on artificial dyes

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by DIANNE GALLAGHER / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianneG

WCNC.com

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 11:30 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One of the Charlotte food bloggers who declared a war on artificial dyes in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese met with company's representatives this week in Chicago.  Vani Hari dropped off 270,000 petitions all boxed up at the front of Kraft's headquarters Monday.

Hari and her partner, Lisa Leake, are Charlotte food bloggers. The women uploaded a petition to Change.org about a month ago calling for Kraft to remove the food dyes Yellow 5 & 6 from the U.S. versions of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

"I was surprised how quickly it caught on.  Within five days we had 200,000 signatures," said Hari.

According to Leake, "They add no nutritional value.  They don't change the flavor and do pose risks.  They potentially cause hyperactivity in children, they can negatively affect their ability to learn.  They have a lot of potential negative effects."

Some European countries have banned or warned against eating foods that include Yellow 5 & 6.  Kraft makes a version of Mac & Cheese sold in the United Kingdom that uses natural products instead of the dyes.

"They're already making the food without it.  They're sitting on an alternative product," said Hari.  "I asked them when I was in Chicago, 'Why did you reformulate it safer for other citizens across the globe but not us here in your own country?'"

Hari did not get an answer to that question.

"I got to speak with two consumer affairs representatives from Kraft but all they did was reiterate their position.  They wouldn't answer any new questions that we had.  They told me they can't predict the future," explained Hari.  "But you know what?  I'll give you a preview.  As consumers start to find out this information they're going to stop buying the product."

Leake could not make it to Chicago but did join Hari during the meeting via conference call.

Kraft has also responded to the bloggers, posting a letter on their web site pointing out they offer mac and cheese with no coloring or natural colors.  Kraft also reminds consumers they only use artificial colors approved by the FDA.

Kraft did not return NBC Charlotte's request for comment.

 

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