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Sarah Francis's picture

In August more than 32,000 MomsRising members and sent a letter to the CEO of Kraft asking her to keep harmful chemicals out of Mac and Cheese. Here's the main point of the letter:

I applaud the decision you made to remove synthetic growth hormones, artificial colorings like yellow #5, and chemical sweeteners like aspartame from the Kraft products that you distributed in other countries in 2008. It was an appropriate and consumer friendly response to changes in consumer sentiment overseas which were influenced by studies highlighting the risks that these synthetic chemicals, hormones and additives present to growing children and adults.
Your success last year in managing the voluntary removal of these synthetic ingredients and chemicals from Kraft products in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and other developed countries was admirable, meeting both consumer demand and financial targets.
However, I was stunned to learn that Kraft continues to include these same synthetic ingredients and chemicals in the products that Kraft formulates and distributes to American families. Given that your products are present in more than 99% of our households, we want the same quality products that you are providing to households in other developed countries...

Today (October 1st-- yes over 1 month later), most of the MomsRising community received a form email from Kraft that said in part:

We completely understand that as a parent, nothing is more important than your family's health and well-being.   That is one reason Kraft Foods is so dedicated to making the safety and quality of our products our top priority.
So that is why we follow the guidelines of government agencies that are responsible for the safety of our food.  In the United States, Kraft Foods only uses ingredients that have been recognized as safe for food use in accordance with U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulations.  We will continue to use the current ingredients, which are recognized as safe.
Our products around the globe are different to reflect local preferences and tastes.  Yet we use the same standards to select ingredients, always putting safety first...

We asked folks on facebook for their thoughts on this response.  Here are a few of their thoughtful comments:

Yes I just read it... not satisfied and I think there not seriously thinking of the bigger picture.

Totally unsatisified and I don't feel that they took it seriously at all. They basically put the blame for unhealthy ingredients on the FDA.

Completely dissatisfied. FDA standards are appalling, and they should rise above them. I won't buy their food.-Connie
The response was condescending, so I wrote this back to them at this email address:

- Anna

You can check out (and join in) the entire conversation here: There's also some great blog posts on Kraft and their krafty mac and cheese at The Myers Family Chronicle, Got Petroleum...In Your Food? and Grains and More

We couldn't agree more with these comments, Kraft's response leaves us unsatisfied.  That's why we sent a letter on Friday to the CEO requesting a meeting.  We think issues like the health of our kids are too important to be addressed by form letters.  These issues require real dialogue.

We'll keep you posted on the response...

Update-- 10/6/09

This came from Kraft this afternoon:

Dear Ms. Francis,

I wanted you to know that we received your follow-up letter.   We will be getting back to you, but in the meantime I wanted to acknowledge our receipt of it.

We're looking forward to seeing what their next letter says.  I'll post it here when it comes!

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