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? 



Sweet and Savory by Sarah said...

Here's the those other countries, the government bans those foods and that's why it's not used by large world wide companies. Here in the US, there are no bans on azo dyes. While it is great to think a company would listen to their consumers on changing the ingredients of their products to products that are better for us, they wont until the government steps in. Azo dyes are disgusting. I tried to keep them out of my home a few years back but found it nearly impossible because it's in nearly everything. As long as they are legally allowed, they will be used. This is why I try to cook my own food at least 90% of the time for my family or eat somewhere I can trust the ingredients as well. You really do need to take control of your own eating and do what is important to you.

Starr said...

The people of the United States usually aren't comfortable with the amount of intervention that European governments enjoy. We all love to scream about personal responsibility instead, while letting many corporations get away with doing whatever they want. (Poisoned dog food? Well, it's your fault for buying it!) Very strange, especially considering that the gov't and corporate interests are very intertwined (Let's not ban environmentally dangerous things like plastic grocery bags because it would destroy an industry).

Jennifer K. said...

It is very hard in the US to regulate anything because then people start screaming about government intervention in commerce. In a free market system, theoretically, that market can sell whatever the consumer will buy...even stuff that kills us. It's bizarre, but that's our country.
In November, California had a ballot initiative that required that genetically modified foods carry a warning label. The measure was defeated. Why? Because one of the largest corporations in that business unleased a huge ad campaign saying that the law would be unfair because it only applied to certain foods. Sometimes consumers choose ignorance.

misszippy said...

It always kills me when you learn that there are better versions of things in other countries. What is with our country and its obsession with horrible, crappy food? I guess it all comes down to Americans wanting their "freedoms" to eat any damn thing they want, even at the peril of their health. It does get under one's skin!

Chris said...

I'm torn on this. I agree with some of the people in the sense that once you KNOW it's in there, it is your choice to buy it or not. If you CHOSE to eat a chemical that has been shown to kill you, then so be it. Cigarettes anyone? On the other hand, why they would sell a product that can be made with normal ingredients when it's already being made is beyond me. It wouldn't take all that much to just do away with the crap ingredients and use the real ones.

I appreciate you sharing this though. I had no idea. We have a few boxes of it around the house and I feel more inclined to "accidentally" throw it out and make it home made from now on.

Z@KickingKilos said...

thanks for sharing this info Jen!
An extra thankyou for the words of encouragement on my blog! It really made me think twice. It actually made me stop drinking.

Kitty Fantastic said...

It makes me upset that the government looks out for business first over the health of the people who live here.

It's surprising that people would argue 'just don't buy it' they must not be concerned with what they're putting into their bodies. There really is so much we don't know about the production of food.

Thanks for posting this, I'm gonna check out those links you included too.

Coy Martinez said...

It's kinda gross isn't it when you start looking at labels!? It's somewhat depressing. Then I go grab some avocados and make guacamole! HAHAHA! People are just lazy and have given up. I see it happen all the time in my local supermarket. Instead of making their own pizza, they buy DiGiorno. Not to say I haven't eaten a frozen pizza but it's just nuts.

Anonymous said...

I am in the process of trying to go all natural food. I am a food addict so I'm basically having to detox. I do think we should be informed about what is in our food. That is why I am trying to detox so I can "eat clean."

Anonymous said...

Eh...I don't buy the stuff nor do I eat it, so I really don't worry about it. I do wish that there were bans on stuff like that though.