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California Becomes First State to Ban Food Additives in Candy Linked To Cancer

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California became the first state to ban food additives found in popular candy, cereal, and soda items which have been linked to health problems such as cancer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Assembly Bill 418, also known as, The California Food Safety Act. Under AB 418, food companies have three years to toss out ingredients such as; brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and Red Dye No. 3 or face a fine of up to $10,000, according to a press release from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Brominated vegetable oil, is primarily used in popular soft drinks, and is used to primarily keep natural-flavored oils from staying “well-blended.” Other food additives, like Red Dye No. 3, have been linked to cancer in animals and have been banned in the use of make-up products.

Potassium bromate is used to “help strengthen dough and enhance the texture of baked goods,” according to Eating Well. It is also a human carcinogen, which means it could lead to cancer in humans. Meanwhile, Propylparaben has been discovered to disrupt the endocrine system and can be found in food items such as Weight Watchers cakes and Sara Lee cinnamon rolls, according to EWG.

“This bill’s implementation is delayed until 2027 – significant time for brands to revise their recipes to avoid these harmful chemicals,” Newsom said in a statement on Saturday. “Californians will still be able to access and enjoy their favorite food products, with greater confidence in the safety of such products.”

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News of the bills passage also dubbed it as the “Skittles Ban” after an earlier version of the legislation included the banning of titanium dioxide, a food coloring agent found among the list of ingredients used to make Skittles.

Titanium dioxide, also found in M&M‘s and Kraft’s fat-free shredded cheddar cheese, is a mineral made of “titanium and oxygen in the form of a white powder,” according to L’OREAL’s website. It is used in make-up and food products, often for “its white colouring properties.”

“There have been many misconceptions about this bill,” Newsom said, continuing to address the news surrounding the legislation. “For example, attached to this message is a bag of the popular candy ‘Skittles,’ which became the face of this proposal.”

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Newsom continued to explain how the Skittles bag next to him came from the European Union (EU) which “already bans a number of chemical additives and colorants.”

“This is demonstratable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws, country-to-country,” Newsom added.

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