California lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban certain ingredients in popular candies an…

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban certain ingredients in popular candies and processed foods in an effort to protect public health and food safety.[0] If passed, California would become the first state in the country to implement such a ban.[1] The bill, known as Assembly Bill 418 or AB 418, was introduced by Jesse Gabriel, and it aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food products in California that contain red dye No. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben.[2]

Gabriel, in a statement announcing the bill, expressed concern over the lack of federal oversight and the potential danger posed by these ingredients. He emphasized that Californians should not have to worry about consuming food products filled with dangerous additives or toxic chemicals.[3] The bill is seen as a corrective measure to address this lack of oversight and protect the well-being of children, public health, and the safety of the food supply.[4]

The proposed ban would apply to popular candies like Skittles, Ring Pops, Hot Tamales, and Nerds, as well as other processed foods such as cake icing, Strawberry Nesquik, and some baked goods. These products contain the targeted ingredients, which have been linked to various health concerns, including an increased risk of cancer, harm to the reproductive system, behavioral issues in children, and damage to the immune system.

The ban is inspired by the fact that these ingredients are already prohibited in the European Union (EU) due to scientific studies demonstrating significant public health harms.[5] Susan Little, a senior advocate of California government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, points out the inconsistency of allowing the sale of products with these toxic chemicals in the US while they are banned in the EU.[2] She argues that it is essential to protect children from consuming these harmful substances and align California's standards with those of the EU.

The use of these chemicals in food products in the US is made possible by a loophole in the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulations called the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) rule.[6] This rule allows the use of certain additives without premarket approval if they meet specific criteria deemed safe for consumption.[7] However, critics argue that this loophole has allowed potentially harmful chemicals to enter the food supply with minimal oversight.

The National Confectioners Association, a trade organization representing the candy industry, strongly opposes the proposed ban.[8] They argue that chocolate and candy have been enjoyed for centuries and that the ingredients listed in the bill have all been approved by the FDA.[7] They emphasize that food safety is their top priority, and they comply with the FDA's strictest safety standards.

If AB 418 is passed, it would go into effect on January 1, 2025.[8] This groundbreaking legislation would set a precedent for other states to follow in prioritizing public health and food safety. It would also signal a shift towards more stringent regulation of food additives and a closer alignment with the standards set by the EU. By banning these ingredients, California aims to protect its residents, especially children, from the potential health risks associated with consuming foods containing these harmful chemicals.[9]

0. “California could BAN Skittles, Sour Patch Kids and Campell's soup” Daily Mail, 16 Mar. 2023,

1. “Skittles May Be Banned in California if New Bill Passes”, 26 Mar. 2023,

2. “California bill aims to ban sale of popular candies with unhealthy ingredients” WJRT, 23 Mar. 2023,

3. “This State Is Looking to Ban Certain Candies—Here's Why” The Healthy, 22 Mar. 2023,

4. “California could ban Red Dye No. 3 and other ingredients used in processed foods” NPR, 23 Mar. 2023,

5. “Why Does A California Bill Want to Ban Chemicals in Skittles?” TIME, 24 Mar. 2023,

6. “If Passed, Assembly Bill 418 Will Prohibit Use of Toxic Chemical in Certain Foods” NBC Southern California, 26 Mar. 2023,

7. “California bill aims to ban sale of popular candies containing ingredients that may cause health issues” East Idaho News, 24 Mar. 2023,

8. “California bill aims to ban sale of candies containing ingredients that may cause health issues”, 26 Mar. 2023,

9. “California proposes bill to ban some food products while nutritionists fret about ‘gross' ingredients” Fox News, 21 Mar. 2023,

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