California could ban Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, and more under new food rules

Candy aisle in a store.
Candy aisle in a store. Photo credit Getty Images

California could soon ban some of your favorite gas station and grocery store snacks, as a new piece of legislation, being dubbed the “first-in-the-nation,” would look to restrict certain food additives commonly found in candy and baked goods.

The proposed bill, AB418, would look to restrict five additives, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, Red dye 3, propylparaben, and titanium dioxide.

The bill alleges that the additives, common in many foods, have been linked to cancer and DNA and organ damage. This is one reason three of the additives named in the proposed bill have been banned in the EU.

If the bill becomes law, companies that use the additives will either have to make some changes in the kitchen or choose not to sell their foods in the state.

California state legislator Jesse Gabriel is behind the bill, and he shared in a statement that residents shouldn’t have to worry about their food being full of dangerous additives or “toxic chemicals.”

Among the foods to have at least one of the additives and would be banned if the bill passes includes Campbell’s soup, several bread brands, jelly beans, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, Trident sugar-free gum, and more.

The bill would not only ban the sale of items that include the five additives, but it would also stop the manufacturing of items that include them in the state, even if they are being sold out of the state.

Gabriel shared in an interview with The Daily Mail that the additives were specifically targeted and named in the bill because they had already been banned in the EU. Among the most notable is titanium dioxide, which was the focus of a lawsuit filed in California last year.

The lawsuit alleged that the presence of the additive in Skittles made the candy unfit to be eaten, despite it being listed as an approved additive by the FDA since 1966. The powder is naturally occurring and often used to stop foods from caking or as coloring.

There have been several studies that examined the effects of titanium dioxide on humans since it was approved by the FDA, including a German review published in 2015 that found it could accumulate in a person’s bloodstream, liver, spleen, and kidney. A French review published in 2017, compounded on the prior research, finding that the build-up could put people at risk for intestinal inflammation, immune system damage, and cancer.

The 2022 lawsuit against the candy maker Mars is still ongoing, but plaintiffs in the case allege the company admitted the additive was dangerous. Mars has also had to find alternative additives and dyes for its candy sold in the EU, meaning Skittles don’t taste the same everywhere in the world.

Several other studies have been published on the other four additives listed in the legislation, and lawmakers say there is enough evidence on all of them to move forward with the ban.

Gabriel shared in his statement that his bill will look to remove the dangers presented to Californians who are just buying food, as the federal government has failed to take action.

“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,” Gabriel said.

Down the Audacy app and follow 97.1 FM Talk.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images