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The European Union has banned certain chemicals that could cause health problems in food products, while the United States allows their use at safe levels. The California State Assembly recently introduced a bill that could change this.
Assembly Bill 418 (or AB 418) seeks to ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of California food products containing red dye No. According to a news release issued by Jesse Gabriel's Office, an Assemblymember who introduced the bill along with Buffy Wicks, the bill contains 3, titanium dioxide and potassium bromate. Brominated vegetable oils, propylparaben, and brominated vegetable oils, respectively. The bill, if passed, would take effect on January 1, 2025.
Titanium dioxide powder is used to color candies and other processed foods. Baking goods are given a potassium bromate to increase dough strength and lift. Brominated vegetable oils prevent citrus flavors from floating to top in some beverages. For antimicrobial food preservation, propylparabens can be used.
These chemicals are now banned in the EU 'due scientific studies that have shown significant public health harms' Gabriel's news release states.
Nearly 3,000 products contain red dye No. 3 is an ingredient in many popular products, such as Skittles and Nerds candy, Trolli gummies, protein shakes, instant rice and potato products, and boxed cakes mixes.
CNN reached out to Mars, the parent company for Skittles, and Ferrara USA (the parent company for Nerds and Trolli Products), for comments on the proposed legislation. However, CNN has yet to receive a response.
Susan Little, Senior Advocate for California Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group stated in the release, "We know they are harmful" and that children are likely to eat more of them than adults. It is absurd that food manufacturers in California sell the same products in Europe, but with different toxic chemicals.
Because of a loophole found in the US Food and Drug Administration’s Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, known as the Generally Recognized as Safe rule, the chemicals can be used in food. The guidance says that certain additives are not subject to premarket approval requirements in the context of food if they meet the criteria set by experts.
According to a California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment study, red dye No. Red dye No. 3 can lead to children experiencing behavioral problems such as decreased attention and difficulty paying attention. The study by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment also found that current federal guidelines for safe food dye intake might not be protecting children's brain health. According to the Environmental Working Group, the analysis found that current legal levels for food dyes, established decades ago by FDA, do not take into account newer research.
CNN was denied comment by an FDA spokesperson due to the pending legislation.
Linda Birnbaum (ex-director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Sciences) supported the bill at a Thursday news conference. She advocated for the removal of red color No. 3 from food products.
Birnbaum stated that 'As California goes it will eventually go the nation. Because manufacturers don't want products they can't sell the fifth-largest country in the world. "So California's actions not only have a major impact in the US, but also worldwide.
How to avoid these ingredients
Red dye No. must be listed by the FDA. Red dye No. 3 must be listed on food labels. Be aware that ingredient lists can be a red flag. Red dye No. Red dye No.
Consumer Reports recommends.