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One of the hallmarks of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is its bright yellow-orange color, the result of a combination of artificial food dyes.

Now the packaged-food company says it will remove these dyes from three Mac & Cheese varieties, but insists that the changes are unrelated to a highly-publicized campaign asking the company to remove Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from its U.S. products, reports the Associated Press.

The shift away from artificial dyes will impact the SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween, and winter shapes kits, which are spin-offs of the original Mac & Cheese. The original elbow-shaped version will not affected, Kraft told the AP.

The artificial dyes in these products will be replaced by paprika and other spices next year, the AP reported.

A company spokeswoman said that Kraft already offers options using only natural coloring, such as in several of its “Homestyle” macaroni and cheese varieties.

“We’ll continue to make improvement where we can,”  said Triona Schmelter, Kraft Food Group Inc.’s vice president of marketing for meals.

Kraft said the planned changes are not a response to a petition, posted on in March, that urged the company to drop the artificial dyes.

Kraft previously removed the dyes from its entire European line of products.

What do you think: Is this a good first step by Kraft or is it time for the company to clean up all of its Mac & Cheese products? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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