Kraft Agrees to Take Yellow Dye Out of Mac and Cheese

Kraft Agrees to Take Yellow Dye Out of Mac and Cheese

PHOTO: Boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese sit on a shelf in a grocery store in Glenview, Ill., Jan. 19, 2010.
Boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese sit on a shelf in a grocery store in Glenview, Ill., Jan. 19, 2010.

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg/Getty Images News

A mommy blogger campaign to get the artificial yellow dye out of Kraft’s Mac and Cheese claimed a victory today after the company announced its plans to pull the coloring from at least three of its kid-friendly boxes in the United States and Canada.

The change doesn’t affect Kraft’s plain elbow-shaped macaroni and cheese with “original flavor,” according to the Associated Press. But it will affect its new recipes, which will available next year: SpongeBob SquarePants, Halloween and winter shapes. Two new shapes will also be added.

The new natural color will come from spices such as paprika, according to Triona Schmelter, Kraft Food Group Inc.’s vice president of marketing meals. It will also contain more whole grains and less sodium and saturated fat.

“We’ll continue to make improvement where we can,” Schmelter told the AP.

Moms tell Kraft to take out food dyes.

Company officials said, however, their decision was not in response to the petition that was launched on and has garnered more than 348,000 signatures.

Two North Carolina mothers, Lisa Leake and Vani Hari, launched the petition last March and confronted Kraft executives.

Leake, who writes the blog 100 Days of Real Food, said her children loved the taste of Mac and Cheese, but she worried about the additives — yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6, which she said added nothing to the flavor and may be dangerous to kids’ health.

Hari, who blogs at Food Babe, did some investigating and found that Kraft makes the same Mac and Cheese for its consumers in the United Kingdom, but because of stricter rules regarding additives, it is dye-free. There, Kraft uses natural beta carotene and paprika to make it almost the same color.

Hari said she was inspired by Missouri teenager Sarah Kavanagh’s petition that pressured Gatorade to stop using brominated vegetable oil and Houston healthy food advocate Bettina Siegal’s petition to take “pink slime” out of school lunches.

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The news from Kraft comes as another mom, Renee Shutters from New York, has launched a petition on calling on Mars to remove artificial dyes from M&M’s candy. It has gone viral, with more than 100,000 signatures, just in time for Halloween.

Leake, 35, and Hari, 32, contended 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.

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 U.K. version better.

Leake and Hari say in their petition that in addition to hyperactivity, these dyes can have a “negative impact on children’s ability to learn.”

Some countries require warning labels on products that contain color additives, according to Hari, who writes the blog Food Babe. “That’s the reason why companies are phasing out dyes,” she said.

In the United States, “we have this precautionary principle,” she said. “We have to go through crazy, rigorous things to prove harm, rather than safety.”

Both yellow dyes in question are fully legal and approved by the FDA, which is responsible for food safety. More than 3,000 additives are approved for food.

“Today, food and color additives are more strictly studied, regulated and monitored than at any other time in history,” the FDA states on its website about the topic.

To market a new food or color additive, a manufacturer or other sponsor must first petition the FDA for its approval. Since 1999, indirect additives have been approved by a pre-market notification process requiring the same data as was previously required by petition.

But Leake and Hari cite a 68-page report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” which outlines various studies on the health effects of food coloring.

The center was founded by scientists when consumer and environmental protection awareness was growing in 1971. It advocates for nutrition and health, food safety and alcohol policy.

The report was based on government studies from the National Toxicology Program and recommends removing yellow dye 6 from the market.

Both dyes used in the Kraft product contain benzidine 4-amino-buphenyl, a man-made product derived from petroleum. In a “too brief” mouse study, yellow dye 5 showed risks of hyperactivity in children, according to the report; yellow dye 6 was associated with adrenal and testicular tumors and no studies were done in utero.

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Chad Michael Murray Gushes About New Love, Nicky Whelan

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PHOTO: Chad Michael Murray tweeted this image with his girlfriend, Nicky Whelan, Oct. 30, 2013.
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Chad Michael Murray has found love again.

Just weeks after Chad Michael Murray’s rep confirmed his split from fiancee Kenzie Dalton, the actor has made it clear that he’s moved on with Australian actress Nicky Whelan.

“I am a lucky lucky man,” he tweeted, along with a picture of the two kissing. “Blessed 2 feel the way I do with @NickyWhelan ! I hope each of u feels the same in ur world!”

The “Hall Pass” actress reposted his message, and added, “ALL MY LOVE.”

Murray, 32, and Whelan, also 32, are co-stars in the thriller “Left Behind,” which is currently in post-production.

Before his engagment to Dalton, whom met on the set of his TV show “One Tree Hill,” the TV star was briefly wed to another co-star, Sophia Bush.

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Jon Gosselin Says He Has ‘No Cooperation’ with Kate Gosselin

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GTY jon gosselin nt 130919 16x9 608 Jon Gosselin Says He Has No Cooperation with Kate Gosselin

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It’s been four years since Jon and Kate Gosselin split, and their relationship is as icy as ever.

In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, the former “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ star, who now works as a waiter in eastern Pennsylvania, said that he and his ex have very little in common.

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“I don’t really have a relationship with Kate. It’s more texting, custodial stuff,” he said in a special that will air on Sunday. “At this point, there is no cooperation, there is nothing.”

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In fact, Gosselin, 36, said that he and his ex-wife keep separate wardrobes for their children, and that neither knows what goes on in the other’s house.

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“I wish her the best in all that she does, but [we're] just moving in totally two different directions, just totally not on the same page at all about anything,” he said. “There’s two different totally parenting styles, two different totally everythings. Which is a shame, because it affects me, but it really affects my children.”

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Kim Kardashian May Marry Next Summer in Paris

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GTY kim kardashian kanye west tk 131022 16x9 608 Kim Kardashian May Marry Next Summer in Paris

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Kanye West definitely knows what he wants – whether its, music, women or fashion - and that’s not going to change for his wedding to Kim Kardashian.

Last night, Kardashian sat down with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” and Leno acknowledged rumors that West, not the bride, would be planning the big day.

“I want him to have whatever he wants,” she admitted. “I’m definitely going to be involved, but I feel like this is … it’s fine.”

The “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star, 33, said her and West, 36, are “hoping for next summer” to tie the knot.

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Being busy – West’s on his “Yeezus” tour and Kardashian shooting a new season of her show – she told Leno that they haven’t yet sat down to talk about the wedding.

“I’m enjoying just being engaged,” she added. “I think we are going to get through his tour and then really talk about when and where.”

But Kardashian has some feelings she decided to share.

“I think somewhere destinational,” she said. “Some place like Parisian. I got pregnant when we were in Italy, maybe Italy … Maybe I’ll pick the place and then he can plan it.”

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A lot was said about her stepfather Bruce Jenner not being invited to the proposal West put together on her birthday Oct. 21, along with his public split from her mother Kris Jenner. But Kardashian said “of course” to Jenner walking her down the aisle.

“He is my stepdad, of course he is,” she added.

Finally, Kardashian said West will definitely be her new last name.

“I’m definitely going to have Kim, probably Kardashian as my middle name, then West,” she said. “My daughter has the last name West and we are a family.”

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