Kraft to stop using synthetic colors in Mac and Cheese

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 20, 2015 -- Kraft Foods says that starting in January, it will no longer make its Original Macaroni & Cheese with artificial preservatives or synthetic colors, replacing the chemical dyes with colors derived from natural sources like paprika, annatto and turmeric. In Canada, it plans to remove synthetic colors in Kraft Dinner Original by the end of 2016.

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“We've met with families in their homes and watched them prepare Kraft Mac & Cheese in their kitchens,” Triona Schmelter, Kraft's vice president of marketing, meals, said in a news release. “They told us they want to feel good about the foods they eat and serve their families, including everything from improved nutrition to simpler ingredients."

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called Kraft's decision to stop using the chemicals, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, which scientists say may be linked to behavioral problems in some children, “a stop in the right direction.”

CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson said it will help families with children “avoid the hyperactivity and other behavioral problems triggered or exacerbated by the chemicals.”

At the same time Jacobson criticized the Food and Drug Administration for failing to act.

“Of course the Food and Drug Administration could solve this problem quite quickly, and in a way that levels the playing field for all companies,” he said. “It could, as CSPI has petitioned the agency to do, prohibit the use of artificial food dyes altogether. European regulators solved most of the problem with a warning label. Given the well-documented harm that dyes cause, and given that they serve only a cosmetic purpose, why put any consumers at risk?”

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In announcing its decision, Kraft noted that it had taken earlier steps to make the product healthier. In 2014 in the U.S., Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes was launched with six grams of whole grains per serving, a 25 percent reduction in saturated fat, a 100 mg cut in sodium per serving and no synthetic colors. In Canada, Kraft Dinner Boxed Shapes was launched with no synthetic colors while Kraft Dinner Original has reduced sodium by 19 percent since 2012.

Then in 2015, Kraft Mac & Cheese Boxed Shapes in the U.S. moved to no artificial preservatives. The company pointed out that all Boxed Shapes have no artificial flavors, preservatives or synthetic colors.

"Listening, extensive research and continuous improvement have been part of the Kraft Mac & Cheese 75-year heritage.  From packaging like convenient Cups to products like Deluxe, Organic and Whole Grain to light prep instructions, we've innovated this iconic brand through the years to remain North America's favorite Mac & Cheese," said Schmelter.

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