November 3, 2013
Kraft To Remove Additives From Some Types Of Macaroni And Cheese
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Kraft has announced plans to remove artificial dyes from three kid-friendly varieties of their macaroni and cheese products in the US and Canada, various media outlets reported on Thursday.According to CNN reporter Jacque Wilson, the Northfield, Illinois-based grocery manufacturing and processing company confirmed they would be removing Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from boxes containing Halloween and winter-themed pasta, as well as those shaped like the popular children’s character SpongeBob SquarePants.
Furthermore, company spokeswoman Lynne Galia told Wilson that two new macaroni and cheese products featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and characters from Dreamworks “How to Train Your Dragon 2” will also be free of food coloring. The new versions will also contain more whole grains, less sodium and saturated fat, and will replace artificial coloring with spices in order to maintain the pasta’s signature yellow-orange color.
The changes will not affect Kraft’s traditional elbow-macaroni style Mac and Cheese product, and according to Candice Choi of the Associated Press (AP), the new recipes will be available sometime next year. Triona Schmelter, Kraft’s vice president of marketing for meals, said the decision to change the products was made because the company was looking to improve their nutritional content, not in response to an online petition that has been circulating since March.
That petition was originally launched by two North Carolina bloggers, Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, who were concerned about the possible health risks that the dyes posed to children, according to ABC News reporter Susan Donaldson James. Nearly 350,000 people had signed that petition, which the 34-year-old Hari delivered to Kraft headquarters last spring after learning that they manufactured additive-free versions of the same products in the UK.
“Hari and Leake said that the yellow dye serves only ‘aesthetic purposes’ and worried that food colorings have been associated with hyperactivity in children, allergies, migraine and, because yellow dyes are petroleum-based, maybe cancer,” James said. “The women taste-tested the two versions of Mac and Cheese and posted it on YouTube. They said they found ‘virtually no difference’ in color or taste. Leake said her children actually liked the UK version better.”
In a statement, Michael F. Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said he was “pleased” with the decision to remove the dyes, but was also “puzzled as to why Kraft would not make this change for the variety that kids likely consume the most: the standard elbow-macaroni-shaped version. As Kraft has today shown, it is clearly possible to make macaroni and cheese without these harmful chemicals.”