Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 are the two potentially harmful chemicals used in Kraft macaroni and cheese products. Let me introduce these two dyes to you. Both of these man-made chemicals are derived from petroleum, a crude oil. Yellow 5 and 6 are both synthetic coal tar dyes made from industrial waste. These chemicals have been linked to disturbing side effects and health risks like asthma, eczema, migraines, hyperactivity in children, allergic reactions, gastric upset, anxiety and swelling of the skin (angioedema). Yellow 5 is also called Tartrazine, and is banned in Norway, Austria and Germany. Yellow 6 is also called Sunset Yellow and is banned in Norway and Finland. These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods. They trigger behavior problems in children and possibly cancer in anybody.
Why do they use these processed food coloring chemicals in our food? Food dyes serve to deceive consumers. They are used to simulate the presence of healthful, colorful fruits or vegetables. Food colorings make foods look brighter and more appealing. It is cheaper for companies to use food colorings rather than real food ingredients.
The U.K.’s version of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese doesn’t include these dyes. They demanded the company to remove yellow 5 and 6. The U.K.’s Kraft Mac & Cheese replaced the artificial chemicals with paprika and beta carotene. Britain’s version and the U.S.’s version tastes and looks the same. Kraft has figured out a way to re-create the authentic taste with safer ingredients for Europe, why aren’t its American customers just as important. It’s all about the money; their caveat is that it is cheaper to make it with these man-made ingredients regardless of the customer’s health risks from consuming it. Kraft isn’t breaking any laws; according to the FDA the chemicals they use are regarded as safe.
Kraft Mac & Cheese is also made with Genetically Modified Wheat. On the labels of Kraft Mac & Cheese in the U.K. and other European countries, they are required to list 2 warnings. Warning #1: This product may cause adverse effects on activity and attention in children. Warning #2: GMO declaration: Made from genetically modified wheat. (may contain GMO) These label warnings are required because the U.S. version contains artificial dyes and GMO’s.
Most ingredients in processed foods have been linked to some health risk or side effect. If you need a comfort food and Mac & Cheese satisfies the need, I suggest finding an organic brand or make it from scratch.