California Bans Some Ingredients in Skittles, Other Sugary Treats

Oct 16, 2023

California is banning four popular food additives that have been linked to disease. This pushes the state ahead of the US government in regulating food safety. The additives have already been banned in several other countries.

The state legislature has passed the California Food Safety Act. It bans the making, transport, and sale of food and drinks with certain compounds. They include brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye 3. The additives can be found in candy. They're also in fruit juices and cookies. They're contained in other foods, too.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law last week. He said the ban won’t fully take effect until 2027. It'll allow food companies time to replace the ingredients with healthier options.

The state’s action has led to false stories that it's trying to ban Skittles. But the well-liked candy won’t vanish. It's made in Europe without any of the disputed additives. US companies will only need to do the same to sell the product in California.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned red dye 3 in cosmetics in 1990. This came after scientists found it caused cancer in lab animals. But it’s still used in candy like Brach’s candy corn and Pez.

One California lawmaker condemned the FDA for being too lax on food safety in the US.

“It's unacceptable that the US is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to food safety.” Lawmaker Jesse Gabriel said this. He's a Democrat. He's also a sponsor of the Act. Gabriel noted that some US companies have freely changed recipes to strip their foods of these additives. Coke, Pepsi, Dunkin’, and Panera are among them.

Photo from PiccoloNamek courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Reflect: Do you think the government has a responsibility to make sure the foods people buy do not contain harmful ingredients?

According to the article, how many popular food additives is California banning? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. 3
b. 4
c. 19
d. 27
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