The yellow dyes no. 5 and no.6, which are used to color some of Kraft’s Mac & Cheese products have been linked to cancer and increased ADHD activity in children. Some countries have banned the yellow dye. In Europe, the use of yellow no. 5 dye requires a warning on the food label. Since Europe required the warning label, Kraft chose to remove the yellow dyes from its Mac & Cheese products in Europe, but not the U.S. Who knows for sure if the yellow dyes increase hyperactivity in children and/or cancer risk, but why take the chance? If it is banned in other countries or requires a warning label, this is a big red flag.
Why would Kraft continue to use the yellow dyes for products sold in U.S. when there is concern in other countries? Kraft’s position is the dyes are FDA approved and that the company offers alternative organic versions without the yellow dyes. These options are NOT readily available at grocery stores. Unfortunately, money is the link to much evil in food production regardless of the health of children. On the bright side, Kraft recently indicated that it plans to remove yellow no. 5 and 6 in its character line such as Sponge Bob Square Pants Mac & Cheese in 2014. Unfortunately, it will still be in the original Mac & Cheese so beware.
A safe alternative that is my top choice and my kids favorite is Trader Joe’s, Organic Shells and White Cheddar, which is 100% organic and has minimal ingredients. Another option, is Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese which contains annatto, a food coloring made from the seeds of the achiote tree.