When I picked up my 8-year-old from the after school program recently, he was hyper in a way that raised my suspicions. My son is the textbook definition of a normal, high-energy, third-grade boy, but the way he was acting was not normal — and I knew exactly what it was. I asked the director of the program if the kids had been given anything that contained red food dye. She said that a parent had brought in a cookie cake with bright red icing for a child’s birthday.

Artificial food dyes. “Experts” tell us that they’re not harmful for our children and do not cause behavioral changes. Ask any mom like me, though, and you’ll get anecdotal evidence to the contrary. In addition to hyperactivity, artificial food dyes have been linked to cancer and food allergies.

Did you know that in other countries, it has been consumer pressure — not government regulations — that has forced large food manufacturers to voluntarily remove many artificial food dyes from their products? 

Change.org has a petition demanding that Kraft Foods voluntarily get rid of the artificial dyes in its foods. Kraft has eliminated these dyes in the foods they sell in other countries. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese — the famous blue box that kids love — is not the same fluorescent orange when it is sold elsewhere.

We don’t have to wait for the FDA to change the laws about artificial food dyes. If companies like Kraft have voluntarily removed them in other countries, then a loud enough voice demanding it here in the U.S. could be effective. But, it’s going to have to be a super loud, booming voice. Right now, there are only 2,245 signatures on the petition. It needs more ... thousands more ... tens-of-thousands more. But, those numbers will only happen one signature at a time.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Petition Kraft Foods to eliminate artificial food dyes
Consumers in other countries have demanded that artificial dyes be removed from foods. Can we do the same here in the United States?