On October 7, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that bans four food additives:
- Red Dye No. 3
- Propyl paraben
- Brominated vegetable oil (BVO)
- Potassium bromate
These additives have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, and developmental delays. They are already banned in the European Union and other countries around the world.
The bill, known as AB 418, or the California Food Safety Act, will go into effect in January 2026. Food manufacturers will have two years to reformulate their products without the banned additives.
The bill was co-sponsored by Consumer Reports, which has been advocating for a ban on these additives for years. Consumer Reports has said that the law is “a major victory for public health.”
Some food manufacturers have opposed the bill, arguing that the additives are safe and that the ban will increase the cost of food. However, Consumer Reports has said that there are safe alternatives to the banned additives and that the cost impact is likely to be minimal.
Skittles are safe
It’s important to note that the California Food Safety Act does not ban titanium dioxide, which is a white food additive that is used to give Skittles their bright colors. Titanium dioxide is not one of the four additives that have been linked to health problems.
As a result, Skittles will still be legal to sell in California after the ban goes into effect. However, it’s possible that Mars Wrigley, the maker of Skittles, may choose to reformulate the candy without titanium dioxide in order to comply with the new law.
What does this mean for consumers?
Consumers in California can be confident that the food they eat is becoming safer. The California Food Safety Act is a major step forward in protecting public health.
Consumers in other states can also take action to protect themselves by choosing to buy products that do not contain the banned additives. Consumers can also contact their state lawmakers and urge them to pass similar laws.
Here are some tips for avoiding the banned additives:
- Read food labels carefully and look for the names of the additives.
- Choose products that are labeled “natural” or “organic.”
- Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
- Cook more meals at home using fresh ingredients.
By following these tips, consumers can reduce their exposure to the banned additives and protect their health.