California is one step closer to enacting a law that would ban Skittles, Hot Tamales, and a host of other food items that contain chemicals linked to health issues.
Assembly Bill 418, proposed by Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), passed overwhelmingly in the California State Assembly last week and now heads to the State Senate.
The bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of products containing Red Dye No. 3, Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, or Propyl Paraben in the Golden State.
Those chemicals, which are already banned in the European Union, have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and developmental issues in children, Gabriel says.
“It’s unacceptable that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to banning these dangerous additives,” Gabriel said in a statement. “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.”
The list of products containing these additives is vast and includes candies, medicine, pizza, drinks, coffee creamers and flour.
Gabriel’s office says many major brands including Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Dunkin Donuts, Papa John’s Pizza and Panera have voluntarily stopped using them in their products.
If passed and signed into law, AB 418 would require food and beverage companies to change the recipes in order for their products to be sold in California, which Gabriel believes would also force them to change their formulas for the entire U.S.
The food and beverage industry opposes the bill.
“All five of these additives have been thoroughly reviewed by the federal and state systems and many international scientific bodies and continue to be deemed safe,” trade groups representing the industry said in a March letter to legislative leadership. “Food safety is a paramount concern to us and our members; however, this measure usurps the comprehensive food safety and approval system for these five additives and predetermines ongoing evaluations.”
The bill is expected to be heard in the California State Senate in the coming weeks. The legislative session ends on Sept. 14.