Kraft has announced that it is removing some artificial dyes from its macaroni and cheese products marketed to children.
The company will remove Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from its existing and new shaped pastas, including pastas shaped like characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and "How to Train Your Dragon 2,” plus Halloween- and winter-themed shapes.
The new Mac & Cheese products aimed at kids will contain six more grams of whole grains, less sodium and saturated fat, and will use spices like paprika instead of artificial food dyes to boost the color.
"Parents have told us that they would like fun Mac & Cheese varieties with the same great taste, but with improved nutrition," Kraft spokeswoman Lynne Galia said in an e-mail.
The company claimed the recipe change was not influenced by a petition on Change.org that is asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from all its macaroni and cheese products.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 for use in foods in 1969 and 1986.
Yellow No. 5 has been linked to hyperactivity, asthma, rashes and cancer, but the evidence that it is harmful is inconclusive. Still Europe requires that products colored by Yellow No. 5 warn of a possible “adverse effect on activity and attention in children."
Kraft does not use artificial dyes in its macaroni and cheese products sold in Europe.
Aficionados of unnaturally bright yellow food, do not fear: Kraft’s “original flavor,” traditionally-shaped Mac & Cheese sold in the US and Kraft Dinner sold in Canada will continue to be colored with artificial dye.
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