Earlier this year, one California Assemblyman introduced a bill aiming to stop the production and sale of products containing Red Dye No. 3, effectively banning Skittles and any other candies using the ingredient. Monday, the bill took its biggest leap forward yet, passing the California Assembly after a vote. The bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 418 will now move onto the California State Senate, where it’s expected to be heard and debated at the committee level in the coming weeks.
AB418 not only aims to ban Red Dye No. 3, but also Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, and Propyl Paraben. All five of the chemicals have previously be banned in the European Union and other international jurisdictions due to the research linking them to illnesses such as cancer.
In addition to Skittles, Red Dye No. 3 is also currently found in PEZ, Hot Tamales, and Dubble Bubble gum. Brominated vegetable oil is typically found in citrus soft drinks while titanium oxide is often used in Nerds and other gummy candy products. Should the bill pass the California Senate, the companies would have to alter their recipes to remove the ingredients in order to be sold within the confines of the state.
The bill was first introduced by Aseemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who calls the passing of the bill a seismic shift in the consumer market.
“Today’s strong vote is a major step forward in our effort to protect children and families in California from dangerous and toxic chemicals in our food supply,” Gabriel said in a statement released through his office. “It’s unacceptable that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to banning these dangerous additives. We don’t love our children any less than they do in Europe and it’s not too much to ask food and beverage manufacturers to switch to the safer alternative ingredients that they already use in Europe and so many other nations around the globe.”
“For decades, the FDA has failed to keep us safe from toxic food chemicals,” added Scott Faber, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group. “The chemical companies keep exploiting a loophole that allows for food additives that have not been adequately reviewed for safety by the FDA. And the FDA consistently fails to reassess chemicals, even in light of new science. The food and confectioners industries know the review process at the FDA is broken.”