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Sounding the Alarm on Mac N Cheese

Updated on March 19, 2013

Who doesn't love mac n' cheese? It's one of everybody's favorite comfort foods. I love it when I have them as a side dish or a snack, or have them for dinner. Recently, macaroni and cheese are getting negative press lately for it's contents that might be harmful to one's health. Lisa Leake and Vani Hari are food bloggers who appeared on the Doctor. Oz Show. They blew the lid off regarding the artificial flavors found in Kraft Mac N' Cheese. According to Leake, Kraft Mac N' Cheese has Yellow no. 5 and 6, which are artificial flavors that may cause adverse effects in children. These substances are banned in Europe and are considered food dyes. They mentioned that Yellow No. 5 and 6 are made of petroleum and have no value when you eat them. They compared the UK version of Kraft Mac N' Cheese to the US version of Kraft Mac N' Cheese. In UK's version, they use paprika and beta carotene. The food bloggers mentioned that 13 snack foods in the US contain Yellow No. 5 and 6. They use these ingredients because it's cheaper, makes the food brighter, and make it more stable. According to some food experts, Yellow No. 5 and 6 can cause health problems such as hyperactivity in children and some cancers. The show reached out to Kraft and they issued their statement regarding this case. They said that safety is their top concern. Some parents wrote to Leake and Hari and they claimed that when they stopped eating Kraft Mac N' Cheese, their children's bad eczema disappeared. According to Dr. Oz, food manufacturers use 15 million lbs of artificial coloring every year.

If you have been watching the news, Ikea pulled out their Swedish meatballs from their shelves because they are considered horse meat. Other food chains such as Burger King and Taco Bell are in hot water because they are being accused of using fraudulent meat. In Ireland, Burger King uses horse meat and it has spread in 21 countries. Food experts found out that 29% of horsemeat are found in Ireland when they advertise their products as 100% beef. Patti Lovera, Food Water Watch Assistant Director and Dr. Scott Hurd said that the spread of horsemeat in the US may not be possible because the USDA has the strictest guidelines in handling meat processing. There is a strong meat inspection in the US that decreases the risk of diseases such as e coli. According to Hurd, any product is FDA approved and is tested by USDA. Dr. Oz mentioned that horsemeat is not bad because some countries use them as their main dish. But we should be careful in buying our meat.

We have to be cautious in reading meat labels in the grocery. Some labels mislead their consumers. They put labels such as natural, cage free, and free range to market them as safe to eat. But we should be careful when buying those products that contain these labels. According to Urvashi Rangan PHD, there are two labels that we should look out for.

1. Natural- When the meat says it's natural, it doesn't mean it's safe to eat. Natural means that they didn't use artificial ingredients, but they are not saying how the animals are raised.

2. Free range and Cage free- When the label says free range, it means the animals go outdoors and they are not verified labels. When the meat says cage- free, it only means animals are out of the cage, but they are not saying where these animals are placed. They should be animal welfare approved because food inspectors have lengthy standards in order to claim that their animals are safe. These standards include space requirements, raised on pasteur, and there should be someone to inspect the conditions of these animals.

According to Rangan, we have to buy beef that are grass fed and 100% organic. Cows should eat grass and not corn. It's considered healthy because they have Omega 3's and healthy fatty acids.

Millions are duped by food labels. We have to be extra cautious in buying meat products because some of them can cause high cholesterol. Comforts foods such as mac n' cheese are marketed to children so that parents are enticed to buy them. They should be free of artificial flavors and not cause diseases in children.

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