Better Mac And Cheese

Published on November 9th, 2013 | by Mary Gerush

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Mac And Cheese: Kraft To Remove Risky Food Dyes From Some (Not All)





Mac And CheeseWhen you pull out a blue box of Kraft mac and cheese from your pantry next year, it may be healthier than today. A few days ago, Kraft announced it is changing up its 2014 recipes for some of its macaroni and cheese products. Parental interest and a Change.org petition have compelled the food giant to remove harmful artificial dyes from its character-shaped products.

This is good news. Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) and Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow) have been linked to chromosomal damage, cancer, asthma, and behavioral issues — including hyperactivity — in children. Both have been banned from products in Norway.

Kraft will replace these dangerous chemicals with natural spices, like turmeric and paprika, to mimic the dayglo orange we all know (and many of us love). Kraft also plans to add more whole grains and reduce sodium and saturated fat content in these products.

Nice Move, But…

Kraft will not make these healthy shifts in its traditional elbow-shaped mac and cheese recipes in the U.S., even though it has removed Yellow No. 5 in its European versions to avoid having to label them with a warning that: “This product may have adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Hmmm… Puzzling indeed. And unfortunately, this ingredient double standard is not uncommon. It’s what led a couple of food bloggers to start a petition on Change.org to influence Kraft to remove artificial dyes from it’s kid-friendly mac and cheese products. With more than 350,000 signatures, it appears our voices have been heard — at least in one ear.

Add Your Voice

If you want to add your signature to a Change.org petition against artificial food dyes, here are a few of the multitude of petitions they host. Lend your voice to the cause and help protect our future generations.

Better yet, make your own homemade mac and cheese with this great recipe from Cowboy Creamery.

What do you think about the double standard large food companies have for plying dangerous ingredients in one country while using natural alternatives in another?

Image Credit: Mac and Cheese via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Hi all! I'm Mary Gerush - a recovering corporate worker bee turned good-farm-real-food advocate and writer who wants to help people understand what they're eating. I tend a tiny urban farm in Dallas, TX, and hope to scale up one day soon. Omnivore through-and-through, there's not much I love to eat more than a butter-basted grass fed steak fresh from a searing hot cast iron skillet. Follow me on , , and !



  • AEM

    Great suggestion to make your own–it’s easier to control what you’re eating and removes your business from companies with objectionable practices. Companies will change their recipes when it’s economically prudent.

  • AEM

    I went grocery shopping with my daughter and had a VERY hard time keeping my mouth shut when she was buying Mac and Cheese–ignorance may be bliss!

  • Mary Gerush

    You are wise AEM… I guess it’s ok to buy the bad stuff as long as you know that’s what you’re buying. But there ain’t much better than homemade mac and cheese. We made some recently with bacon and a few different cheeses and it was muy delicioso!

    • Ann

      Please share your recipe!

      • Mary Gerush

        I don’t have an exact recipe, but I boil the pasta (usually elbows or shells) according to the package directions. Then I make a cream sauce: Melt 3 to 4 tablespoons butter. Whisk in an equal amount of flour. Cook, whisking, for a minute or so. Slowly whisk in milk (2 to 3 cups I think). Bring to a boil, whisking, until it thickens. If it’s too thick, add more milk. You want it to be a little on the thinner side than a regular cream sauce because then you’ll throw in your cheese! Stir in 2 to 3 cups of your favorite grated cheese. Cheddar is always good, but you can mix it up. We recently started to get a cheese called Parrano which is really good! Stir in the noodles, pop it in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. You can add bread crumbs on top before baking – it’s a nice touch. Not the heart healthiest of dishes, but it is dang good! Let me know if you try it!

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