After a long and tough battle, food advocates are cheering over Kraft’s decision to remove artificial dyes from its Macaroni and Cheese products in the United States and Canada.
Given the health risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and maybe even cancer, the company has finally given in and decided that it would replace the artificial dyes with natural colors, such as paprika.
The Associated Press reports that the change will only affect the SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween, and winter-shaped Mac & Cheese — not the classic elbow-shaped pasta.
The changes in the new recipe will be implemented next year, and two other shapes will be added. Kraft officials claim that the change is not in response to the petition posted on Change.org, which was started by food blogger Vani Hari.
Hari started the petition after she discovered that the ingredients in the Kraft products — especially Yellow 5, which is labeled as Tartrazine, and Yellow 6 — caused a number of illnesses.
According to Hari, artificial food dyes have been banned in other countries like Norway, Austria, and the United Kingdom. They are man-made chemicals that are derived from petroleum. She says that some of the health risks include debilitated learning abilities in children, asthma, skin rashes, and migraines.
Hari has been working for months campaigning against Kraft to remove dyes from its foods. “We must keep the social media pressure on Kraft – they need to know that we are not going away or letting them off the hook for this madness," she said on her site, FoodBabe.com
“The company was looking to improve the nutritional profiles of the three macaroni and cheese varieties more broadly,” said Triona Schmelter, Kraft Food Group Inc.'s vice president of marketing, to the Associated Press. “The new recipes will also add whole grains and reduce the amount of sodium and saturated fat.”
Hari hopes that Kraft will continue to remove the harmful dyes from all of its other products.
“If Kraft changes their Macaroni and Cheese, we know this could inspire other food companies across the US to finally eliminate dangerous artificial food dyes once and for all,” she said.
Take a look at Hari’s petition video here: