California Lawmaker Proposes Ban on Skittles

The legislation aims to prevent food companies from using dyes and other additives shown to cause cancer.

The war on Skittles — and other confections that use food additives — is old news, but a new bill in the California legislature could bring about the first sales ban. Introduced by Democrat Jesse Gabriel, Assembly Bill 418 aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and distribution of any foods containing the additives red dye no. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and propylparaben.

Skittles, which has already come under scrutiny for its use of titanium dioxide, is not the only brand being called out for additive use. Earlier this month, Consumer Reports called upon Just Born Quality Confections, aka the manufacturer of Peeps, to stop using red dye no. 3, calling it "a known carcinogen" and "a dangerous food chemical" in a press release.

California might ban Skittles

Jakub Porzycki / Getty Images

Typically used for added color, flavor, and longevity, the additives listed in Assembly Bill 418 are currently classified as safe by the FDA. The European Food Safety Authority, however, conducted an independent study that revealed the additives risks to consumers, including asthma, cancer, memory loss, impaired coordination, and behavioral issues. The European Union banned the use of additives along with the import and use of any food products that use them

Assembly Bill 418 proposes the same, by banning the chemicals in question and not the food products themselves. "The idea here is for these companies to make minor modifications to their recipes so that these products don’t include dangerous and toxic chemicals," Gabriel stated in an email to "Skittles and many other brands have already made changes to their recipes in the European Union, the UK, and other nations where these chemicals are banned. We simply want them to do the same thing in the United States."

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