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By Ben Popken

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have announced they're getting rid of artificial colors and flavors, becoming the latest national food retailers to "go natural."

Instead of "black pepper flavor," for instance, Taco Bell will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef.

Taco Bell also said it will remove trans fats and high-fructose corn syrups from most of its menu by the end of the year.

The chains join other big food makers who've made similar moves in recent months.

Panera Bread this month announced it was removing over 150 artificial ingredients from its menus.

Chipotle recently said it had nearly finished removing genetically modified ingredients from its stores. Subway, the subject of an online campaign to remove an ingredient in its food also found in yoga mats, also updated its ingredient list. And in February, Nestlé pledged to replace "vanillin" in its Crunch bars with natural vanilla flavor, along with other changes to remove artificial colors and flavors.

A woman eats a taco at a Taco Bell fast-food restaurant in Japan.Toru Hanai / Reuters

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-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.