(RNN) - An American childhood staple has two bloggers launching a campaign demanding artificial dyes to be removed from the comfort food.
Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, both mothers from North Carolina, noticed that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains two synthetic substances – yellow 5 and yellow 6 – that do nothing to add to flavor, but could be dangerous to children's health.
Leake, 35, and Hari, 33, launched a petition on Change.org campaigning for the dyes to be removed. The petition was sent by email to Kraft Foods executives.
According to the petition, the Illinois-based food giant does not use those ingredients in other countries like the United Kingdom. Instead paprika and beta carotene are used to obtain the yellow color.
Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese currently has more than 166,000 signatures.
Their petition alleges artificial food dyes are made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum (a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar); yellow 5 and yellow 6 contain known carcinogens; are linked to long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes and migraines, and could increase hyperactivity in children.
A Kraft company spokesperson, Lynne Galia, told MailOnline, "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 the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food use by the Food and Drug Administration."
In Europe, it is mandatory for foods that contain these ingredients to carry a warning label on the packaging. In some countries, such as Austria and Norway, the ingredients have been entirely banned.
In the U.S. seven artificial colorings are permitted by the FDA; blue 1, blue 2, green 3, red 40, red 3, yellow 5 and yellow 6.
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