Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cheesy rant: Stop the madness

I don't eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Aside from the fact that I avoid processed foods, I can't eat gluten or dairy so it's not like this stuff makes its way in my home often. I'll admit that every so often my son will sneak a box in the cart and he'll get a little for lunch, but that's not likely to happen again. I'll also admit that back in the day before I gave a damn about nutrition I thought this crap was pretty tasty.

There are two whole food blogs I like to read: Food Babe and 100 Days of Real Food. These blogs are great to read because they are very eye-opening and informative but they will also get you a bit crazy when you begin to read about our flawed food supply. They are food investigators so there are many things that might seem OK or even good for you that turns out to have something questionable or downright dangerous about it.

In any case, I try not to get myself too nuts about it all because somedays it all gets just too overwhelming.

Even when I was fat I wasn't naive enough to think that something like a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was a healthy choice. I knew it was crappy, processed, comfort-like food that tasted good. What I didn't really realize at that time was that it contains ingredients (Yellow #5 and Yellow #6) that are known to cause cancer and hyper-activity in children and a host of other potential issues.

That would be crappy enough but what really makes my head explode is that they don't have to use those chemicals. In fact, Kraft makes a version for other countries which uses paprika and other non-chemicals to color the mac and cheese. In fact these chemicals in the US version are so harmful that they are banned in places like Norway and Australia and being phased out in the UK.


So Food Babe and Lisa from 100 Days of Real Food started THIS PETITION to urge Kraft to make our good 'ol US mac and cheese as safe as the rest of the world.  They even taste-tested it - and it tastes exactly the same. Who could be against safer food? Who wouldn't be on board to saying no to cancer-causing ingredients when alternatives are available? Isn't this a no-brainer? Isn't this one issue that we can all agree on?

Well… this story was picked up by Shine Yahoo yesterday and to my complete shock some of the comments were dumbfounding. People raged, "just don't eat it, then. Why ban it?" "I defend the right for people to shove any kind of food down their mouths…" etc… I was shocked.  I agree that consumers have a responsibility to make their own healthy choices. DON'T EAT IT. I agree - no f'ing duh, MAKE A HEALTHY version yourself but I couldn't understand how people were so against the idea that we would hold companies accountable for making our foods safer when possible.

Here were some of the comments:

It's just scary to me how every issue, even one like sending a message to not put potentially hazardous stuff in our food when there's an alternative, still has people fighting against it. Why?

By the way - Kraft isn't the only one. There are tons of other processed foods on the market that are using chemicals that are banned in other countries in our versions. It's maddening that there are better alternatives but so many of us are just content to accept this when we don't have to.  

What are your thoughts? 


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