kraft mac and cheese

In a relaunch it claims has been the works for some time, Kraft announced that it will remove artificial yellow coloring from five of its character-based macaroni and cheese lines starting in January 2014.

The petroleum-based artificial colors yellow #5 and #6 will be replaced by natural spices including paprika, annatto, and turmeric in three existing types of the boxed mac and cheese and two new lines. The artificial colors will remain in the original macaroni and cheese variety.

The announcement comes six months after two well-known food bloggers started a petition on Change.org asking that Kraft remove the artificial colors. The food bloggers pointed out that Kraft has reformulated its products without the controversial chemicals in the EU, where they are banned, but continued to use them in the U.S., where they are legal and approved by the FDA.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has conducted research which shows a link between artificial coloring and hyperactivity in children, migraines, and even cancer.

Kraft claims that the change has nothing to do with the petition but is part of a long-planned program to increase the nutritional value of its products.  The relaunch includes adding 6 grams of whole grains per serving and reducing sodium and saturated fat by 15 percent. In a statement, a spokesperson said, “These shapes products are just our latest innovation and provide additional choices for Mac & Cheese lovers of all ages.”

The petition on Change.org has received more than 348,000 signatures since March.  Food Babe Vani Hari, one of the two bloggers behind the petition, said on her Facebook page, “Thank you for your voices. We are changing the food system together.”

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Image: cibomahto