Food News

Activists Strong-Armed Kraft into Removing Artificial Dye from Some Mac and Cheeses

Kraft announced recently that it would be removing artificial dyes from three of its macaroni and cheese products. To create that neon-orange color we all grew up with, Kraft will replace the artificial dyes with spices such as paprika.

Despite that the artificial colorings have been under attack based on reported health concerns, Kraft wants to be clear that the revamped recipes aren't in response to a petition on Kraft points out the product change includes added whole grains, and lowered sodium and saturated fat in an attempt to change the nutritional profiles of the three macaroni and cheese varieties.

They want to be clear: This has nothing to do with the petition. No way.

Back in March we told you about Lisa Leake and Vani Hari and their attack on unnecessary dyes in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. When the two discovered that the European version of the family dinner classic replaced Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 with more natural food colorings, while the version sold in the U.S. remained artificially colored, they took Kraft to task and started a petition on

A month later, after collecting more than 270,000 signatures, Vani Hari made a trip to Chicago to meet with Kraft executives. Hari demanded kids in the U.S. have access to the same products as the kids in Europe but she was essentially blown off. "People love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese just they way it is," she was told, while her website continued to collect signatures.

While Kraft doesn't want to admit the petition had anything to do with the change, pointing out plain elbow-shaped macaroni and cheese with "original flavor" will remain the same, Hari is quick to declare victory. In an email sent out by she is quoted as saying: "Kraft is obviously listening to me and the 348,000 people who have signed my petition." She's hopeful Kraft's decision to remove artificial food dyes food continues throughout the rest of their product line and across the industry.

The same email points out the next big battle against artificial dyes in food. Another petition, which has already collected more than 100,000 signatures, takes aim at Mars, demanding the removal of artificial dyes from M&M's candy.