Ban on food additives heads to California governor's desk

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California's state legislature passed a bill Tuesday banning commonly used chemical ingredients found in popular snacks and drinks.

The move comes after studies linked the chemicals to health issues in humans, including cancer, reproductive issues, and behavioral and developmental issues in children.

The California Food Safety Act prohibits the sale of foods and drinks that contain red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil and propylparaben starting in 2027. The food additives are already prohibited from use in the European Union and many other places around the world.

An earlier version of the bill included language to also prohibit the use of titanium dioxide -- found in hundreds of items such as Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, Chips Ahoy! cookies, Jell-O, chewing gum, chocolate, milk products, pastries and salad dressing -- but that chemical was dropped in an effort to obtain more widespread bipartisan support, KTLA reported.

The ban is now headed to Governor Gavin Newsom's desk for a signature.

The bill has faced opposition from the lobby group National Confectioners Association, which released a statement arguing that there is "no evidence to support banning the ingredients."

"The ingredients that would be banned under this proposal have all been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," the statement said. "Food safety is the number one priority for U.S. confectionery companies, and we do not use any ingredients in our products that do not comply with the FDA’s strictest safety standards."

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who introduced the bill, said the legislation will not remove any products from the shelves, nor will it ban any product that Californians currently enjoy. Rather, it would force companies to make  changes or recipe tweaks to be compliant with California law.

"It's not too much to ask food and beverage manufacturers to switch to the safer alternative ingredients that they already use in so many other nations around the globe," Gabriel said in a statement. "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 many major brands and manufacturers -- including Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, Dunkin Donuts, Papa John's Pizza, and Panera -- have voluntarily stopped using these additives in their products.

While the bill only applies to items sold or produced in California, Gabriel said it could prompt a nationwide transition to safer alternatives.

Newsome has until October 14 to sign or veto the bill.

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