In yet another set of victories for the healthy consumer, fast food giants Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have announced that they will be removing artificial ingredients from their food items – a change undoubtedly sparked by our collective desire for food that is free of questionable ingredients.
For its most recent food changes, Taco Bell announced that it would be switching out its black pepper flavor ingredient for – gasp – real pepper! The fast food chain will also be eliminating trans fats in its foods by the end of 2015 – a move that should have been done years ago. But we still applaud the changes.
Further, Taco Bell will be eliminating Yellow dye number 6 from its nacho cheese, as well as Blue number 1 from its avocado ranch dressing.
“Yellow 6 caused adrenal tumors in animals, though that is disputed by industry and the FDA. It may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions,” a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found in 2010. “Yellow 6 adds an unnecessary risk to the food supply.”
“Blue 1 was not found to be toxic in key rat and mouse studies,” scientists noted, adding “but an unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice, and a preliminary in vitro study raised questions about possible effects on nerve cells. Blue 1 may not cause cancer, but confirmatory studies should be conducted. The dye can cause hypersensitivity reactions.”
Pizza Hut announced similar changes, vowing to eliminate all artificial colors and preservatives in its food by August of this year.
The changes are made following previous announcements made by numerous other food organizations. For example:
- Panera plans to remove all additives, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and more from its food by 2016.
- Fast food giant Chick-fil-A announced that it would be working towards an antibiotic-free food supply in coming years, by 2019.
- Target previously announced that its Simply Balanced brand would be GMO-free by the end of 2014.
- Subway decided to nix a chemical that is used to make yoga mats – an additive that was also used in its breads.
- Most notably, one of the nation’s largest restaurant chains, Chipotle Mexican Grill has stated that it has successfully phased out GMOs from its food.
The moves being made by Taco Bell and Pizza Hut may be a little too late for those of us who have already decided to reject the corporate food chains which offer low quality food, but these changes will surely still make a difference in the eyes of the mass consumer. In either case, I view these changes as major victories for food activists and consumer advocacy.