Kraft Foods announced today that it is changing the recipe of its iconic boxed macaroni and cheese (or “Kraft Dinner,” if you're in Canada) to replace artificial food dyes with coloring from natural spices, including turmeric, paprika and annatto. The new, naturally colored products are supposed to appear on store shelves starting in January 2016.
The company has already made similar changes to the formulas of its more child-focused offerings; in late 2013, it announced that, due to consumer demand, it was removing Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from its cartoon-shaped macaroni and cheese offerings.
Kraft made that change in response to a Change.org petition asking the company to “Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes In Our Mac & Cheese.” (There is some dispute over whether Yellow Nos. 5 and 6 actually are “dangerous” to humans; however, there’s no disputing that several other countries think those dyes are dangerous, and have banned them as a result.)
Kraft is not the only American food producer to remove artificial dyes in response to consumer demand; in February, the Nestle candy company said it would start removing artificial colors and flavors from its products, too.
People who suffer from food allergies will have to double-check Kraft's new recipes to make sure they're not allergic to any of the natural colorings.
Turmeric can even interact with certain over-the-counter or prescription drugs, including those taken for diabetes or stomach acid reduction, though for the most part, such drug interaction warnings only apply to people taking concentrated doses of turmeric as a medicinal supplement, not to the vastly smaller quantities used to give food a yellow tint.