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Kraft Looks to Replace Artificial Yellow #5 and #6 in Macaroni and Cheese

Per June 8th, 2012 Food Navigator-USA.com, Kraft Foods put a call out to “external collaborators” to work in concert to improve upon many existing ingredients used in Kraft food and beverage products. Kraft  is looking for providers with “kitchen-friendly” solutions to replace many ingredients that may pose health concerns to consumers.

Among the many other ingredients, Kraft is specifically looking to replace the artificial Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 dyes currently used in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese while still meeting Kraft criteria for their iconic food product.

As you may recall from earlier WhyDye blogs How Mellow is Your Yellow? and Picking Pickles , the two artificial yellow dyes currently approved for use in foods, drugs and cosmetics by the FDA include Tartrazine (FD&C Yellow #5) and Sunset Yellow (FD&C Yellow #6). Both have been associated with potential negative health effects.

The Tartrazine Scene (Yellow #5)

Tartrazine is a water soluble artificial dye also known as FD&C Yellow #5. Once you start looking, Tartrazine is everywhere. A partial list of the foods that contain Tartrazine includes cake, pudding, biscuits, cookies, muffins, bread, pie crusts, frostings, candy, gums, ice cream, beverages, cereal, instant waffles, yogurt, chips, crackers, salad dressing, pickles, cheeses, dips, fast foods, prepared dried and frozen entrees and sides. (See IATB Brain Food Selector). It is also found in vitamins, soaps, and shampoos.

According to CBS News IN DEPTH Food Safety Food Additives Facts (September 29th, 2008):

“Tartrazine, a yellow food dye used in ice cream, soft drinks and fish sticks. It is a sodium salt and contains more salt than the human body can handle. Besides hyperactivity, research has linked it to asthma, skin rashes, and migraines. This product is banned in Norway and Austria.”

Sunset Yellow (Yellow #6)

Sunset Yellow is an artificial dye also known as FD&C Yellow #6. It generates an orange to yellow hue in foods and may be combined with other artificial colors such as FD&C Yellow #5.A partial list of foods that contain Sunset Yellow includes orange soda, jams and jellies, baked goods, dessert mixes, cookies, frosting, cereal, candies, gum, beverages, soup mixes, margarine, chips, macaroni and cheese mix, condiments, prepared chicken nuggets. See IATB Brain Food Selector.

Reported side effects of Sunset Yellow include gastric upset, hives, runny nose, allergies, hyperactivity, incidence of tumors in animals, mood swings, headache.

According to CBS News IN DEPTH Food Safety Food Additives Facts (September 29th, 2008):

“Sunset yellow, a dye used in yogurts and sweets. This product is banned in Norway and Finland”

So looking to remove Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese sounds like a good idea and kudos to Kraft for looking ahead to turn out a healthier product.

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Comments (3)

  1. Rebecca at "Die, Food Dye!", July 6, 2012
    Thanks for sharing this. Here's hoping they are thorough, removing all dyes from their entire line of products, and from their subsidiaries - especially their products marketed to kids: Lunchables, Mott's applesauce, Jell-O, and Kool-Aid, among many others. It's hard enough for adult bodies to deal with the onslaught of petroleum...even worse for growing kids. I encourage everyone to tweet their favorite food manufacturers and ask them when they'll #DitchTheDyes. www.DieFoodDye.com Reply
    • WhyDye, July 6, 2012
      Dear Rebecca, Thank you for your message. You are absolutely right about the different effects that artificial dyes pose on children due to their weight which is only a fraction of an adult consuming the same amounts of artificial dyes in any given product. WhyDye explored this topic in its article "Questions About Estimated Daily Intake (EDI) and Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)" (please see http://www.whydye.org/2011/07/questions-about-estimated-daily-intake-and-acceptable-daily-intake/). In this WhyDye article testimony on EDI and ADI from the March 30th, 2011 Food and Drug Administration Center for Food and Applied Nutrition Food Advisory Committee was presented. In that testimony it was stated that “…some of the per-capita exposure of some of the color additives are reaching the level close to the ADI levels listed here, particularly for children". Also of note is that FDA calculations of ADI take into consideration only averages and therefore children who consume high levels of artificial dyes could then conceivably surpass ADI levels. When dyes are hidden in the foods we eat, it becomes cloudy which children are exposed to high levels of artificial dyes on a daily basis. Reply
  2. Jean, June 8, 2013
    I hope Kraft changes their ingredients soon. I cannot use their products containing yellow #5 dye. My husband is EXTREMELY allergic to this - his mouth face and tongue swell Reply

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