CHARLOTTE, NC – More than 348,0000 health advocates, consumers, and concerned families are celebrating a big development on a popular petition led by food advocate and writer Vani Hari. Faced with massive public scrutiny, Kraft Foods announced plans to remove artificial yellow dyes from at least three of its Macaroni & Cheese products that come in kid-friendly shapes in the US and Canada.

Vani Hari, petition author and founder of blog, celebrated Kraft’s announcement, calling it an important first step in her campaign to remove artificial dyes from family foods.

“Kraft Foods is taking a commendable first step in listening to consumers’ call to end to the use of artificial dyes in foods that families consume everyday,” said Hari. “Kraft is obviously listening to me and the 348,000 people who have signed my petition on Many people supported my campaign because this change is very important to the lives of so many people — including children — who consume Kraft products and are affected negatively every single day by these artificial food dyes.”

Triona Schmelter, Kraft Food Group Inc.’s vice president of marketing for meals, told the Associated Press that the packaged food company plans to remove artificial dyes that come in kid-friendly shapes, including mac and cheese varieties that come in SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween, and winter shapes. Kraft is reportedly not removing artificial dyes from its “original flavor” elbow-shaped macaroni and cheese.

Kraft’s announcement comes as a New York mom’s petition calling on Mars to remove artificial dyes from M&M’s candy goes viral. Renee Shutters’ petition, which has already collected more than 100,000 signatures, was featured on the TODAY Show on Tuesday.

“To be part of such a monumental turning point in the removal of artificial food dyes from the food system and to help raise up the voices of over 348,000 people who backed me on is an incredible honor,” Vani added. “I hope Kraft’s decision to remove these artificial food dyes from kids’ foods continues throughout all their products and across the industry.”

Vani says her campaign was inspired by Missouri teenager Sarah Kavanagh’s petition which pressured Gatorade to stop using brominated vegetable oil (BVO) and Houston healthy food advocate Bettina Siegal’s petition to take “pink slime” out of school lunches. Vani’s campaign was featured on Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show, as well as in publications such as USA Today and The Chicago Tribune.

“Vani Hari is running a smart, savvy consumer campaign using for the petition, YouTube for a video, her own website and email list to spread the word, and has tapped into social media networks to keep up the momentum. After being inspired by previous campaigns, she now finds herself an inspiration to consumers nationwide,” says senior campaigner Pulin Modi.

Journalists interested in setting up an interview with Vani Hari should use the contact details at the top of the page.

Associated Press coverage of Kraft’s announcement:

Updated signature totals of Vani Hari’s Kraft petition:

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