California is considering legislation that would ban very iconic food, including Skittles, Campbell’s soup, Pez candies, Sour Patch Kids, and Sun Drop Soda, according to Daily Mail. All of these reportedly contain titanium dioxide, which is the common thread between these targeted foods.
Titanium dioxide, along with potassium bromate, and brominated vegetable oil, are banned in the European Union. If the legislation, called Bill AB418, is passed, it would ban the manufacture, distribution, and sale of products with titanium dioxide and other key chemicals. Learn more of where things stand and how they got this far here.
California introduces legislation to ban Skittles, Campbell’s soup, and other food with titanium dioxide
Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel first introduced Bill AB418 back in February, saying, “Californians shouldn’t have to worry that the food they buy in their neighborhood grocery store might be full of dangerous additives or toxic chemicals.” He continued, “This bill will correct for a concerning lack of federal oversight and help protect our kids, public health, and the safety of our food supply.”
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The contents of the bill also call for a ban on food containing Propylparaben, potassium bromate, red dye 3, and brominated vegetable oil. Skittles lists titanium dioxide as an ingredient on its website; it reportedly helps give colors and a brighter appearance. Insider writes that it is known to be toxic and can be found in mineral sunscreen.
Claims and responses from legislators and manufacturers
According to the bill’s contents, companies can change their recipes to exclude the targeted chemicals and additives; then, they can continue producing their product. Otherwise, if the bill goes through, the final product would be banned.
“We know they are harmful and that children are likely eating more of these chemicals than adults,” argues Susan Little of the public health advocacy organization Environmental Working Group. “It makes no sense that the same products food manufacturers sell in California are sold in the EU but without these toxic chemicals.”
However, food manufacturers argue that the chemicals are actually safe. Directors from the National Confectioners Association, American Chemistry Council, and California Grocers Association composed a letter countering the health concerns voiced in 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,” the letter argues.
Separately, the National Confectioners Association also noted the 100,000 jobs the confectionery industry provides for Californians.