New Law Targets Food Companies In California

One step closer to becoming law in California is a plan to restrict candy chemicals like Skittles and Sour Patch Kids. The goal is to have these businesses slightly alter their formulas so that their finished products no longer include potentially harmful substances.

The bill would prohibit using five chemicals in foods sold or made within the state if passed. The measure aims to safeguard kids and their parents from dangerous chemicals.

Red 3, a food coloring used in some candies, is one of the chemicals in question. Earlier studies have found a correlation between its use and cancer in animals.

On Tuesday, a 12-1 majority in the state Assembly’s Health Committee sent the bill to the Committee on Environmental Safety on Hazardous Materials for further consideration.

Researchers in Brazil found in 2012 that Red 3 can cause genotoxicity, or harmful destruction to DNA, and can result in permanent transmissible changes to DNA.

Over three decades ago, the Food and Drug Administration banned using FD&C Red No. 3, often known as Red Dye No. 3 and Red Dye 3. That’s because studies showed that giving animals highly high dosages of it led to cancer.

Yet, the same chemical has been deemed safe for human consumption since 1907 and is still used in food. 

Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, who filed the bill last February, said the chemical industry would have you believe this measure goes way too far, but the United States is way behind the developed world regarding protecting children from toxic chemicals.

Twelve legislators voted “yes” on AB418; eleven Democrats and one Republican.

Assemblyman Vince Fong (R), representing parts of California, including Bakersfield, voted nay.

At a time when the FDA’s inadequate oversight has stopped it from taking action, states like California must guarantee consumers are protected from these hazardous food ingredients, senators said after the committee votes to ban the chemicals from candy, cookies, and other processed foods.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, DC, petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year to outlaw the substance.