Posts Tagged ‘ food dyes ’

Mom’s Petition to Change M&Ms’ Colors Gains Traction

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

A Change.org petition appealing to Mars, Inc. to stop using artificial food dyes in their iconic M&M candies has garnered more than 145,000 signatures.  In Europe, M&Ms are colored using naturally derived dyes, and some parents and scientists link artificial dyes to behavioral issues in kids.  More on the petition from CNN.com:

[Renee] Shutters says her son Trenton showed noticeable improvements in mood and attention span after she removed artificial coloring from his diet a few years ago. M&Ms were his favorite candy.

“I just could not believe that something so small could make that big of a difference,” Shutters says.

European lawmakers moved to require warning labels on foods containing certain artificial colorings after a 2007 study found a slight increase in hyperactivity among children consuming a mixture of the dyes and a preservative.

The required label reads: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

The move came despite the European Food Safety Authority’s conclusion that the UK study “provides limited evidence” and “cannot be used as a basis for altering the (accepted daily intake) of the respective food (colors).”

Instead of adding the warning, most manufacturers voluntarily switched to dyes derived from natural sources, such as beets or annatto for red, carrots for orange and saffron for yellow.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has declined to implement tougher regulations but acknowledged that “certain susceptible children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other problem behaviors” may have their condition “exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”

The effects on behavior “appear to be due to a unique intolerance to these substances and not to any inherent neurotoxic properties,” the FDA said in 2011.

Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the FDA and big business need to take action.

“The Food and Drug Administration should protect the public’s health by banning food dyes,” Jacobson says. “Companies of course could remove dyes voluntarily, switching to safer natural colorings, and a few big companies are beginning to do it.”

Image: Candy coated chocolates, via Shutterstock

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Kraft to Remove Yellow Dyes from Some Macaroni & Cheese Boxes

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Kraft Foods has announced that it will remove Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, two food dyes that give its famous Macaroni & Cheese its iconic yellow color, from its 2014 character-shaped product line.  The move comes after a petition bearing more than 50,000 signatures asked the company to remove the dyes to protect kids’ health.  The petition cited research linking the artificial dyes with ailments from migraine headaches to asthma.  More on Kraft’s announcement from CNN.com:

Kraft has revamped its character-shaped product line for 2014, according to company spokeswoman Lynne Galia. The new versions will have six additional grams of whole grains, be lower in sodium and saturated fat, and will use spices instead of artificial food dyes to recreate the pasta’s famous yellow-orange color.

“Parents have told us that they would like fun Mac & Cheese varieties with the same great taste, but with improved nutrition,” Galia said in an e-mail.

The company will remove Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from boxes containing pasta shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants and those with Halloween and winter shapes. Two new shapes of the popular pasta — Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ from Dreamworks — will also be free of food coloring, Galia said.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest hailed Kraft’s decision on Friday. Michael Jacobson, the center’s executive director, said he is pleased with the announcement but is “puzzled” as to why Kraft would not change its iconic elbow-shaped macaroni product as well.

“As Kraft has today shown, it is clearly possible to make macaroni and cheese without these harmful chemicals,” Jacobson said in a statement.

Image: Yellow macaroni and cheese, via Shutterstock

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Petition Urges Kraft to Remove Food Dyes from Macaroni & Cheese

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Kraft Foods’ iconic macaroni and cheese is a favorite among kids, but its cheesy yellow color comes from food dyes that could be harmful to children’s health.  That’s the claim made by a Change.org petition that has collected more than 50,000 signatures in an attempt to convince Kraft to refrain from using artificial food dyes Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 in their products.

Two North Carolina food bloggers, Vani Hari and Lisa Leake, started the petition after learning that a number of countries ban the chemical dyes, or require foods containing them to have a warning label.  The Center for Public Interest has conducted research linking the dyes with conditions from migraine headaches to asthma.

“If an American company can take the time and expense to reformulate a safer food product for countries overseas, then I believe Americans deserve the same treatment,” said Leake, a mother of two girls and creator of the “100 Days of Real Food” website. “It’s rather shocking that we are still being fed ingredients, which are no longer used – and in some cases banned – elsewhere.”

In Europe, foods that contain Yellow #5 are required to carry a warning label. The chemical has been completely banned in Norway and Austria. In the United Kingdom, Kraft’s “Cheesey Pasta,” the British version of the American Macaroni and Cheese product, doesn’t contain artificial food dyes.

“After suffering some serious health issues, I became incredibly passionate about understanding what is in food – how it is grown, what chemicals are used in its production, and what eating food does or doesn’t do for the body,” said Hari, a popular food activist writer who has been featured in the New York Times and is a regular contributor to NBC’s Charlotte Today. “I knew I needed to do something.”

Image: Macaroni and cheese, via Shutterstock

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