Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 418, often known as the California Food Safety Act, into law on October 7. The historical law prohibits the “manufacturing, distributing, delivering, selling, holding, or offering for sale” of food goods containing four additives present in over 12,000 candies, grains, and drinks.
In spring 2023, the contentious law drew headlines for potentially removing Skittles from corner shop aisles. However, following a change, the final version of the law does not include titanium dioxide, the ingredient responsible for the rainbow-colored candy, in the calculation.
Nonetheless, the restriction will affect a wide range of products, including peeps, most supermarket store-made red velvet cupcakes, and others.
California has become the first state in the United States to prohibit the use of four potentially dangerous food and beverage chemicals that have been associated with a variety of ailments, including cancer, and are already prohibited in dozens of other nations.
Supporters of the measure believe that it does not suggest that popular products would suddenly disappear off store shelves, but rather that companies will have to adjust their formulas in order to offer the same foods and beverages with less harmful components.
A new California act has been popularly known as the “Skittles ban,” although that unofficial term is incorrect—you won’t be deprived of your favorite fruit-flavored candy.
However, even if you don’t reside in California, the lists of components of several popular treats will most likely appear slightly different by 2027.
Governor Newsom signed the Act
California is the first state to make certain additions illegal under state law. According to Cal Matters, the four ingredients in concern have previously been banned by the European Union: red color 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and propylparaben. Consumer Reports co-sponsored the bill, and Brian Ronholm, the nonprofit’s director of food policy, told the non-profit news source that the law is “groundbreaking” and passed with “strong bipartisan support.”
It is up to the firms to determine what the restriction actually means for pantry staples in America, such as ordinary cookies and beverages. According to a complaint made by 24 NGOs and scientists, the rule provides companies until 2027 to modify recipes to account for the banned ingredients, all of which have been highlighted for carcinogenic or neurotoxic associations or endocrine and reproductive damage.
Each is often found in a wide range of products; for example, propylparaben can be present in a number of well-known brands of trail mix, and bromate of potassium can be found in various tortilla types.
Nonetheless, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved these drugs for years, but the Environmental Working Group points out that they haven’t been examined in many years, if at all, in certain instances.
No Chance of Skittles ban
There is almost no chance that this will result in a Skittles ban. According to California state Rep. Jesse Gabriel, who initiated the bill, all we ask is that firms change their formulations in the same way that they have in Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and other nations that have outlawed these substances.
Some animal research has connected red dye No. 3 to cancer of the thyroid, but no human studies have been conducted. The Food and Drug Administration banned the substance for cosmetic usage in 1990 due to a link to cancer in animals, but it was still allowed in food products.
It is unacceptable that the United States lags so far behind the rest of the world in regard to food security, Gabriel said in a statement after Newsom signed the bill.
This bill will not prohibit any foods or products; rather, it will force food firms to make minor changes to their formulas and switch to safer substitutes that are already used in Europe and many other parts of the world, he noted.