Proposed Bill Banning Some Popular Candies Debated in California

The push would ban additives that are widely used across a range of products.

March 20, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—California’s AB418 would ban brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and titanium dioxide, as well as the dye Red 3. The bill would “prohibit a person or entity from manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale, in commerce a food product” containing any of these additives.

Among the foods that could be impacted: Skittles, Pez, Hot Tamales, Sour Patch Kids and many others, including some breads, soups and sauces.

Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel hopes to force the companies to change the product nationwide: “It is unlikely they'll have one recipe in California and one in Oklahoma,” he said.

The Daily Mail reports that three of the five are banned in Europe, while Red 3 is banned for use in cosmetics in the United States.

Several trade associations, including the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and California Grocers Association, opposed the move. “All five of these additives have been thoroughly reviewed by the federal and state systems and many international scientific bodies and continue to be deemed safe,” they wrote.

The NCA highlighted that the confectionery industry supports more than 100,000 good-paying jobs in California.

In a statement, it said: “In California, the confectionary industry represents a $7.7 billion economic output, pays $1.8 billion in wages and supports 106,351 total jobs in the state.”

Mars, the maker of Skittles, was sued in 2022 for its use of titanium oxide. "Safety is of paramount importance to Mars Wrigley. Titanium dioxide is a common colorant widely used across many industries and in everyday products, including many foods," Justin Comes, the company's vice president of research and development, said at the time.

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