Legislation Protects Californians from Toxic Chemicals in Food
By Dolores Quintana
Assembly Bill 418 will prohibit a number of chemical additives commonly used in processed foods has successfully passed through the California legislature. All that remains is for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign it into law once it crosses his desk.
The bill was nicknamed the “Skittles ban,” but the latest iteration of the bill actually exempts the beloved rainbow-themed candy from having to alter its recipe. This exception stems from the removal of one of the contentious chemicals from the list of banned substances. Similar and popular candies like Peeps, Hot Tamales, and thousands of other products would have been affected.
Assembly Bill 418, authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), seeks to ban the manufacturing and sale of products containing Red Dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben. Notably, these chemicals have already been prohibited in 27 European Union nations, as stated by the bill’s author.
Since titanium dioxide is no longer part of the bill’s list, Skittles, and similar candies utilizing this chemical, primarily as a color additive to enhance visual appeal and maintain pigment longevity, are not required to modify their recipes to comply with California law.
Furthermore, the latest version of the bill includes a provision delaying the implementation of the ban until 2027. This grace period offers food companies a reasonable timeframe to make necessary adjustments.
Assemblymember Gabriel emphasized that despite the exclusion of titanium dioxide, the bill represents a “significant leap forward” in safeguarding Californians from harmful chemicals within the food supply.
“It is unacceptable that the United States lags so far behind the global standard in food safety,” stated Gabriel in a press release.