California could BAN Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and Campell’s soup
California lawmakers are planning to ban food additives in candies like Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and some baked goods in the US.
Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, representing part of Los Angeles, filed AB418 last month in an effort to curb the use of five common food additives linked to cancer, DNA and organ damage.
Of the five additives that would be included in the ban, three – brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate and titanium dioxide – are banned in the EU. One of them, the dye Red 3, is not allowed to be used in cosmetic products in America.
If the bill becomes law, foods containing them will either have to change their formula or be banned from sale in America’s most populous state.
Foods that may be affected include other treats such as jelly beans, PEZ candy, Trident sugar-free gum, Campbell’s soup, and smaller bread brands from across America.
“Californians don’t have to worry that the food they buy at their convenience store is full of dangerous additives or toxic chemicals,” Asm Gabriel said in a statement.
“This bill corrects a worrying lack of federal oversight and helps protect our children, public health and the safety of our food supply.”
The bill, which he introduced with fellow Democratic co-sponsor Asm Buffy Wicks, focuses in particular on five additives, including propyl paraben.
Asm Gabriel told DailyMail.com ‘the purpose of the bill is to protect children and their parents from harmful chemicals.’
If it becomes law, the bill would also prevent the production of food products, including these chemicals, in the state — even if they are sold elsewhere.
While the state assembly only deals with California matters, Asm Gabriel sees the new regulations as having a national impact.
“The idea here is for it [companies] to change their recipes,” he explained, saying he doesn’t expect many companies to leave the large California market.
Asm Jesse Gabriel (pictured) filed the bill last month. He hopes to “protect” families in California by banning these potentially harmful substances
But if they change their products for California, they’ll probably make the change nationwide.
“It’s unlikely they’ll have one prescription in California and one in Oklahoma.”
He said the five chemicals have been specifically identified because they are all already banned in foods in the EU.
Titanium dioxide is the most notable of the group.
The additive was at the center of a 2022 lawsuit filed last year in the Golden State alleging that the popular candies Skittles were not fit to be eaten.
The naturally occurring powder is used to prevent goods from caking and is often used as a coloring agent.
It has been approved as an additive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although activists want the agency to review the 1966 decision.
The calls to ban the additive come as more research shows the food’s potential dangers.
A German review of previous research published in 2015 found that titanium dioxide can accumulate in a person’s bloodstream, kidneys, liver and spleen.
2017, French researchers found this structure can put people at risk for intestinal inflammation, immune system damage and even cancer.
Plaintiffs in the California case claim Mars, which manufactures Skittles, still sells the product despite this giving in to the dangers of the additive in 2016.
The additive was banned from food products in the EU last year, with regulators citing similar concerns.
“Why are these toxic chemicals in our food?” Susan Little, of the consumer organization Environment Working Group, said.
“We know they are harmful and children are likely to eat more of these chemicals than adults. It makes no sense that the same products that food manufacturers sell in California are sold in the EU, but without these toxic chemicals.”
The food is also a listed ingredient for many Campbell’s soup products, sauces made by Old El Paso, and other candies and baked goods.
Another targeted additive is Red 3, a food coloring found in many candies and other sweet treats.
Since the early 1980s, studies have shown that the additive can cause cancer in laboratory animals in very high doses and has been linked to behavioral problems in children.
For these reasons, it was banned in cosmetic products in 1990, but it remains in many foods and sweets, including baked goods and breakfast cereals.
A pair of 2016 studies found that Red 3 is in more than one in 10 candies in the US, and more than 80 percent of children under the age of two had consumed it in the past two weeks.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a Washington DC-based consumer advocacy group, petitioned the FDA last year to ban the chemical.
a Study from 2012 of Brazilian researchers found that Red 3 can cause genotoxicity – when the DNA suffers toxic damage – and also causes permanent transmissible changes in strains.
In 2020, California’s Environmental Protection Agency found it children who regularly consumed Red 3 were more likely to have hyperactivity and inattention.
a Study from 2016 led by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Asheville found that the dye was used in 11.1 percent of candy products.
It was also found in 3.3 percent of pastries, 2.6 percent of fruit snacks and 2.6 percent of cakes marketed to children.
Brominated vegetable oil is a vegetable compound used to combine the elements of citrus-flavored soft drinks.
Prolonged exposure to the chemical can damage the body’s central nervous system. It has been linked to the development of chronic headaches, memory loss and impaired balance.
It was previously used in the popular soft drink Mountain Dew until parent company Pepsi removed the ingredient in 2020.
Sun Drop, a similarly flavored soda manufactured by Keurig Dr Pepper, still uses it.
Many other budget and store brand versions of Mountain Dew and Sprite sold around the country also use the chemical.
It is banned as an additive in the EU, India and Japan. Its use in the US is limited to citrus drinks only, where it can uniquely blend different elements.
Propylparaben is often used in baked goods as a preservative because the substance derived from some plants and insects has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Some highly processed, ready-to-eat baked goods contain it. The Weight Watchers line of backed deserts — aimed at people trying to shed pounds — is one of the culprits.
The additive has been linked to fertility problems in mice, with previous research showing that it can reduce sperm count in males and interfere with estrogen development in females.
Some experts fear it could cause similar damage to people’s endocrine systems.
Despite this, the FDA still considers propylparaben “generally recognized as safe.”
Potassium bromate is also found in many baked goods, including the popular sugar cookie brand Balducci’s.
It is banned in the EU, Canada and Brazil, among others, because of its link to the development of thyroid and kidney cancer.
It is often used in processed foods to help dough rise higher.