Mac n’ Cheese Petitioner “Food Babe” Got it Wrong

Kraft-Mac-and-CheeseBy Brad Jordan

Creamy, silky smooth, and delicious, is what my béchamel sauce looks like as it slowly simmers on my stove-top. Made with real butter, raw cheese, and raw cream from pasture-raised cows and cooked at a low temperature, this is the purest cheese sauce there is. It will soon be soaked up by the fully soaked and sprouted, easy-to-digest, whole-grain spelt pasta I got fresh from my Amish farmer this week.

Meanwhile, my comrades in the real-food movement – Vani Hari of FoodBabe.com and Lisa Leake of 100DaysOfRealFood.com – are circulating a petition to pressure food giant Kraft into removing Yellow#5 and Yellow#6 from the powdery, cheese-like substance encased in the little foil packet in every box of American Mac n’ Cheese.

The food bloggers say the artificial food colors – derived from petroleum – are not present in the version of the product sold in the United Kingdom. Instead, because of consumer demand, the company uses beta-carotene and paprika to color its British “Cheesy Pasta.”

While I agree artificial dyes are bad, signing a petition begging food overlords to remove them is a waste of time. The best way to overthrow the food oligarchy is to stop buying their products.

 Waste of time

Even if their petition is successful, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is still going to be junk food. Are these real-food-movement revolutionaries suggesting we should eat highly processed, nutritionally deficient, toxic food just because the artificial food coloring has been removed? What about the other non-food ingredients in the little blue box? After they get the food coloring removed, what next? Are they going to petition that Kraft remove other dangerous additives like calcium phosphate, sodium phosphate, sodium tripolyphosphate and all the synthetic vitamins? After that, are they going to demand the company use real cheese? How about rBGH and rBST-free cheese? Shouldn’t they also demand the cheese be fresh, not powdered, and come from grass-fed cows? And what about the pasta? Shouldn’t it be whole-grain and organic? While they’re at it, they probably should request that it be soaked and sprouted.

While Lisa and Vani depict Americans as helpless victims of food industrial complex, we’re not. Consumers still have the power to choose what they eat. It’s not like there aren’t alternatives at the grocery store. If you want processed foods, which are hard to digest and lacking nutrients, at least go for an organic brand. When I was still eating highly processed, boxed foods, I was happy to pay a couple dollars more for Annie’s Organic Macaroni and Cheese.“Oh, but millions and millions of people eat Kraft everyday, because they can’t afford organic or other more natural varieties,” you might be thinking. Well, I know Whole Foods’ 365 brand makes mac n’ cheese without Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 and it’s only a buck. So you can start there.

The Cost
While several news outlets have noted that natural food coloring costs Kraft more to produce than the chemical coloring, neither Leake nor Hari ever mention the cost factor. The unspoken assumption in all that they’ve written and said on the topic is that Kraft should pick up the cost difference and keep it affordable for consumers, who have no choice but to eat it.

Here’s the kicker though, the better the ingredients in the product, the more it’s going to cost Kraft to make. That means – unless you think Kraft should operate as a charity and forego profits – the greater the cost will be to you, the consumer. It’s simple economics. Millions of people choose to buy the cheap stuff. The only way toforce these types of companies to change is if the market demands it – with the willingness to fork over extra dollars and the refusal to buy cheap crap – or the government mandates it. The later is a whole other story, which I’m completely against.

On top of that, is it really economically and nutritionally sustainable to ship food from California, Texas and Mexico to big box stores all over the world? The longer foods have been cut from the vine, the more nutrients they lose. Of course, in the case of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, there probably weren’t many real nutrients to begin with. That’s why they “enrich” it with synthetic nutrients, whose shelf life is prolonged with chemical preservatives. It also cost a ton of money to ship these foods from one side of the world to the other. Add the cost of food safety regulations inherent to the industrialized food system, and you’re paying $4-a-pound for a dang tomato. And let’s not forget the Federal’s Reserve’s roll in inflating our money supply, a hidden tax, which diminishes our buying power when it comes to food, and everything else for that matter.

Who’s really to blame?

You, that’s who.
Why blame Kraft, when it’s the FDA who has approved the use of these harmful dyes? There are all kinds of nasty ingredients that end up in your Mac n’ Cheese, and they’re all rubber stamped “OK” by your loving and protective government. Why not petition Big Brother, who subsidizes junk wheat and factory-farm dairy, which makes the relative cost of organic foods seem higher? Why do you think this so-called food is so “cheap” to begin with? It’s not! You’re paying for it twice – once at the checkout and once to the taxman.

Better yet, why not petition yourself. Ask yourself why you’re buying this rubbish in the first place, and be honest – it’s not because you have no other choice.

In the comments section below the petition, one signer, Susan Westhoff of Ann Arbor Michigan, wrote, “You can eliminate these toxins in other countries, why do you cheap out on my country and for my children?!? How dare you assume you have the right.”

This epitomizes the real source of the problem. People thinking Kraft owes them something other than the quality of product they are willing to pay for.

How dare you assume you have the right to force Kraft to make up for your failure to nourish your children, Susan. How dare you cheap out on them! It’s up to you and you alone to decide what you and your children eat. If other people are willing to pay for artificial “junk” food, then so be it. That is their right. The most effective way to change the food system is to stop participating. Have some self-respect, some pride, and take responsibility for yourself.

Petition co-creator Lisa Leake expressed the same entitlement sentiment in a YouTube video that appears alongside the petition – “We think we deserve the same version that our friends overseas in the UK get without artificial food dye.”

Excuse me Ms. Leake, but you don’t deserve anything, again, other than what you’re willing to pay for. So if you don’t like Kraft’s product, spend a few more quarters and buy an organic alternative.

My solution
I don’t believe in forcing anyone to do anything against his or her will. The only people we should try to control are ourselves, and it’s high time we start.

My Mac n’ Cheese is real, the kind neither Kraft nor any other processed food manufacturer could touch. It’s delicious and made with real, fresh, whole foods. No additives, preservatives, powders, dyes, GMOs or white-wheat flour are on my ingredient’s list, which – as it is written out at the beginning of this article – is short and readable. Nothing is hidden, because I have taken the responsibility to know my food, where it came from and who grew it.

You too can take responsibility for yourself and find farmers who practice sustainable farming. The more people start supporting local farmers, growing their own food, and learning traditional methods for developing nutrient-dense soil, the better off we’ll be. We won’t need the food oligarchs or the slop they dole out to us. We will have our own flavorful, whole and healthful foods. And with that, eat free or die, folks.

Article originally posted at foodriotradio.com

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