What is Yellow Dye #5 and #6 & Why does the UK Require Products Use Warning Labels For It But the US Does Not?

Published On April 8, 2013 | By Melly Allen | Cafe Mom, Eating Healthy, Family, Food, Health

If you’ve been following Recess for the past few weeks, you have seen how I recently did a complete overhaul of everything we put on our plates in my home. I’m also continuing to research food and what goes into the processed kinds. One of the more disturbing ingredients I came across was Yellow Dye #5 and #6 or the scientific name is Tartrazine. Tartrazine is derived from petroleum, sounds tasty already right? Tartrazine is a known carcinogen! Furthermore, carcinogens are linked to causing cancer (source: wiki). The dye is only added for aesthetics and adds no nutritional value, so why have them at all when there are safe more natural alternatives?

A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraine, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. In children, asthma attacks and hives have been claimed, as well as supposed links to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, and hyperactivity. – Wiki

You’ll find tartrazine mostly labeled in the form of artificial dye. It can be found in: ice cream, gummy bears, peeps, soda, chips, gum, jam, pickles, tartar sauce, corn flakes (don’t get me started on corn flakes!), muesli, risotto, Kraft Mac & Cheese, bar soaps, lotions, mouth wash, shampoo, conditioners, nail polish, temporary tattoos, fake tans, antacids, cough drops, Lunchables, Trident, Halls, Pillsbury products, and Ritz Cheese Crackers. About 85% of what’s on the market has tartrazine in it!


Okay, I know…it’s more than overwhelming! It’s downright frustrating for any person that wants to provide the best nutrition for themselves and their family. If you’re anything like me you get very bogged down by this information and it becomes such a burden you want to give up. But fortunately for me I’m also the type of person that can’t ignore facts. And every fact I’ve come across in my quest to live a better life points to ditching the processed foods! It might be hard and very uncomfortable to really see what we’ve been feeding our children, but if we are to turn the childhood disease rates around, we have to stop letting companies (that just want to turn a profit – that’s how business works after all) into our kitchens on the everyday basis.

Lynne also reiterated that they are complying with the FDA laws and look to “scientists and regulators” when formulating their products. Which prompted me to ask “Why did Kraft spend over 10 million dollars during the last 5 years lobbying the FDA? And why does Europe require a warning label for these dyes?” She didn’t answer the questions and looked visibly uncomfortable when I asked them. Lynne said Kraft is listening to their customers who want to keep Mac & Cheese just the way it is. We asked her how Kraft defined the word “listening,” since there were over 270,000 people requesting the removal. We wanted to know who the people were that want artificial dyes in their food? She couldn’t answer that question – so we asked “How do you define “listening” – and she explained that the people who are still buying the product (i.e. the people who don’t know about this issue yet) are the ones they are listening to – in other words, we explained – you are listening to your sales of Mac & Cheese, the bottom line, correct? And she nodded. – Food Babe

I was thrilled to see that some savvy food bloggers created a petition to tell Kraft to stop adding yellow dye #5 & #6 to it’s Mac & Cheese. The same products are sold in the UK but without the artificial chemicals after a public outcry. The laws across the pond seem to hold the public’s best interest more at the core then our corrupted food system. If you think the US food system is without corruption I’m sorry to be the one to burst your milk bubbles.

So why is Kraft still adding these ingredients that have known negative side effects in the US? Are we not good enough to have the better option as well? Well they are not breaking any laws. Just knowingly adding (along with the 85% of other brands and manufacturers) harmful ingredients to our products, is just another reason to ditch the chemically processed foods that are engineered from the ground up. You can follow the Kraft Mac & Cheese war if you’d like here. I’m very interested to see just how it will pan out.

For myself and my family, we’re taking the simple approach to food and products. If it contains words my seven year old can’t read or it’s made with something I would not cook with from my pantry, we skip it. So far I’ve lost six pounds and have more energy than before (even without coffee). I took small baby steps and was relaxed about it. I no longer feel like what is in the box affects us, because we no longer eat it anyway. If it’s not Tartrazine it’s some other chemical that has unattractive side effects. But I think it’s awesome there is becoming a wide spread movement to put these lab experiments into the mainstream. If Kraft does remove the artificial dye, great. Great for those that choose the convenience of boxed mac and cheese. I’m a busy mom, I can respect the need for convenience and I’m happy knowing it could possibly be safer for those families that serve it.

Would you like Kraft to remove the dye from it’s Mac & Cheese? Would you like to be able to see the dye-free boxes in every store as the alternative and clearly labeled?

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About The Author

As the Community Director and Editor of Recess, Melly Allen is the Founder of the Recess Sandbox Revolution where she strives to unite Southern Nevada women by giving them a voice and place to connect and share. Melly is also a major Social Media Producer.

One Response to What is Yellow Dye #5 and #6 & Why does the UK Require Products Use Warning Labels For It But the US Does Not?

  1. David says:

    I dont think what Kraft is doing is overwhelming or frustrating. It is illegal. Putting dangerous substances into food for any reason needs to be treated as a criminal and civil offense for companies like Kraft.

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