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2 NC mothers petition Kraft to stop using artificial colors in Mac & Cheese

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CHICAGO -

Two Charlotte-area food bloggers are taking on the food industry by petitioning Kraft to stop using artificial food coloring in its macaroni and cheese.

Lisa Leake, of Matthews, and Vani Hari, of Charlotte, have gathered more than 250,000 signatures on a petition that demands that Kraft "stop using dangerous food dyes in our mac & cheese."

"We recently discovered that several American products are using harmful additives that are not used – and in some cases banned -- in other countries," the petition, on Change.org, reads. "One of those products is an iconic staple that almost every American, us included, has had at one time or another: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese."

Hari explained, "In the version in the United States, which this one is geared toward children and this one has cartoon characters, they use petroleum-based dyes that are made in a laboratory."

Leake added, "They can potentially cause hyperactivity in children. They can negatively affect their ability to learn."

With the signatures in hand, the women took the petition to Kraft's headquarters in Chicago, saying the company should use its European version of the same product.  After protesting this morning with a full camera crew, Kraft allowed the two women into its headquarters and to meet with its executives for more than an hour.

In a letter to "Kraft Mac & Cheese Lovers," the company said the FDA approved both Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, deeming them "safe for use in food."

"For those of you looking for Mac & Cheese with natural colors or no colors at all, we've got those options too. About 14 different ones in all," the letter reads.

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