California is making history as the first state in the U.S. to prohibit the use of four potentially dangerous food additives that have been found to be associated with various diseases. Under the newly enacted California Food Safety Act, red dye 3, propylparaben, potassium bromate, and brominated vegetable oil are no longer permitted to be sold, delivered, distributed, or manufactured within the state.
A report by the Environmental Working Group’s Eat Well Guide reveals that more than 3,000 food products contain red dye 3, with 204 products containing potassium bromate, 89 products containing brominated vegetable oil, and 52 products containing propylparaben.
Popular brands that may be affected by this legislation include:
Red Dye 3
- Certain PediaSure shakes
- Nesquik strawberry milk
- Some Cake Mate icing
- Betty Crocker decorating icing
Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of red dye 3 in cosmetics back in 1990 due to its potential carcinogenic properties. However, its use in food products was not prohibited until now. Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to neurological issues, while potassium bromate has been associated with cancer when consumed in significant quantities. Similarly, propylparaben has been found to negatively impact fertility.
Although the FDA has not yet commented on this matter, their website indicates that they are currently evaluating the safety of several food additives, including the ones mentioned here. It remains to be seen how this ban will shape the future of food production and regulation in California.
Banning Harmful Food Additives: A Positive Step Forward
In a significant move for consumer safety, California has passed a law banning four food additives that are already prohibited in other countries. Although these additives will remain on store shelves until 2027, this legislation provides ample time for companies to adapt to the new rules and prioritize the well-being of their consumers.
Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his support for the law, emphasizing its significance until the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and establishes updated safety levels for these additives. Newsom underscored that the intention of this law is not to ban specific foods or products but to require food companies to make minor modifications to their recipes and switch to safer alternative ingredients already utilized in Europe and many other parts of the world.
Titanium dioxide, a coloring additive found in popular treats like Skittles and M&Ms, garnered attention during the bill’s initial stages, earning it the moniker of the “Skittles ban.” However, this provision was removed in the final version of the legislation.
Consumer Reports played an essential role as a co-sponsor of this groundbreaking bill, recognizing it as a crucial step towards an improved food regulatory system. However, the National Confectioners Association criticized the decision, accusing California lawmakers of prioritizing soundbites over scientific evidence.
As we look towards a safer and more transparent food industry, this ban serves as a positive step forward in protecting consumers’ health and well-being. With continued focus on rigorous safety standards and responsible policy-making, we can ensure a brighter and healthier future for all.