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There’s really good news for supporters of all-natural food who care about what they eat. Big companies are starting to remove artificial and potentially dangerous ingredients from some food products because of public pressure.
The number of ingredients removed is small but it is encouraging.
The reason the ingredients are being removed is an obvious one: Companies are concerned that they’ll lose business and money if the ingredients remain. Even some big corporations and major brand names are responding to the public pressure.
The List Of Companies Is Impressive
The latest high profile examples of such removals include:
Chick-fil-A. The company is planning to remove high fructose corn syrup from buns served at its restaurants. The Associated Press reported that the chicken chain is testing new recipes for the buns at some of its locations in Georgia. Chick-fil-A has also removed yellow dye from its chicken soup and is planning to remove artificial dyes from the sauces and dressings served at its locations. The company is also testing a new peanut oil that could take the place of one that contains dangerous chemicals.
The changes at Chick-fil-A were promoted by Charlotte, North Carolina, resident Vani Hari, who blogs as the Food Babe. In 2011 Hari examined a Chick-fil-A sandwich and noted that it contained several questionable ingredients, including peanut oil that contained TBHQ, a chemical made from butane.
Hari’s protests were so successful that the company eventually invited her to its headquarters. There, executives showed her how they planned to address her concerns.
“They took my concerns and started developing a road map of how to address them,” Hari told the AP.
Chick-fil-A has been trying to make its products healthier in recent years. The chain has stopped using dressings that contain high-fructose corn syrup and phased out trans fats.
“More and more these days, we’ve become a kind of food culture,” David Farmer; Chick-fil-A’s vice president of product strategy and development, said. “People seem to care a lot more about what’s in it (food), how it’s made and where did it come from.
Kraft. The food giant decided to remove artificial dyes from three varieties of its popular macaroni and cheese. The action was apparently motivated by a petition on the website Change.org. The Change.org petition was started by the same Vani Hari who later helped pressure Chick-fil-A. Kraft took notice and made the change after 348,000 people signed the petition.
Kraft will remove artificial dyes from its SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween and Winter Shapes macaroni and cheese products which are marketed to kids. The company will not remove artificial dyes from its original flavor macaroni and cheese.
“I knew all along it was wasn’t going to be an overnight change,” Hari said of Kraft’s action. “This is a big corporation and this is one of their biggest products.”
Hari expects Kraft to remove artificial dyes from other products in the near future. She didn’t say what products will be next.
PepsiCo. The drink company decided to remove a chemical called bromine from its popular Gatorade sports drink because of a similar petition. The petition was started by 15-year-old Sarah Kavanagh after she learned that the use of bromine as an ingredient in food and drink has been banned in Japan and Europe.
Kavanagh started a petition that eventually got 200,000 signatures which prompted PepsiCo to take the action. Bromine, which is also used as flame retardant, was not included in Gatorade sold in the United Kingdom but it was sold to Americans.
Interestingly enough bromine, or BVO, is still used as an ingredient in some drinks sold in the US including Fresca, Fanta, Mountain Dew, Sun Drop and Powerade. There’s no word on whether the ingredient will be removed from those drinks.
It looks like large corporations are receptive to petitions and efforts to change what’s in food. If you don’t like the ingredients in some of your favorite products, perhaps you should start a petition to change them. The food industry executives will pay attention to the petitions because they want your money — and they know that everybody signing the petitions is one less customer for their products.