CONSUMER

California becomes first US state to ban 4 potentially harmful chemicals in food

Oct 10, 2023, 4:26 PM

Red dye No. 3 is used in many candies...

Red dye No. 3, an additive used in many popular candies, has been banned in California. (Perry Mastrovito/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

(Perry Mastrovito/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

(CNN) — California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a landmark law aimed at banning red dye No. 3 and other potentially harmful food additives in consumer goods.

On Saturday, the Golden State became the first in the country to forbid the use of the ingredients found in many popular candies, drinks and more, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental health organization that cosponsored the law with Consumer Reports.

Also known as the California Food Safety Act, Assembly Bill 418 — introduced by Assemblymembers Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks in February — prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of food products in California containing red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil or propylparaben.

Potassium bromate is added to baked goods to help dough strengthen and rise higher. In some beverages, brominated vegetable oil emulsifies a citrus flavoring, preventing separation. Propylparabens are used for antimicrobial food preservation.

Nearly 3,000 products use red dye No. 3 as an ingredient, including sweets such as Skittles, Nerds and Trolli gummies; protein shakes; instant rice and potato products; and boxed cake mixes, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Eat Well Guide.

In his letter, the governor pointed to Skittles’ availability in the European Union, calling it “demonstrable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws.”

Newsom’s move brings the United States slightly closer to a food environment like that of the EU, where these chemicals are banned “due to scientific studies that have demonstrated significant public health harms, including increased risk of cancer, behavioral issues in children, harm to the reproductive system, and damage to the immune system,” according to Gabriel’s March news release.

“Signing this into law is a positive step forward on these four food additives until the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and establishes national updated safety levels for these additives,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom in a letter to the California State Assembly Saturday.

CNN has reached out to the FDA for comment.

Food safety in practice

The bill won’t be implemented until 2027 — “significant time for brands to revise their recipes to avoid these harmful chemicals,” Newsom added. “Californians will still be able to access and enjoy their favorite food products, with greater confidence in the safety of such products.”

The National Confectioners Association, a trade organization based in Washington, DC, said in a statement that “Newsom’s approval of this bill will undermine consumer confidence and create confusion around food safety” by acting independently of the FDA, and called on the FDA to weigh in on the topic.

Currently in the US, these chemicals can be used in foods because of a loophole in the FDA’s Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that’s known as the Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, rule, which allows manufacturers to use the ingredients in a way or amount the FDA has previously determined to be safe.

Because of the size of California’s economy, “this groundbreaking law may affect food across the country, not just in California, so all Americans will likely benefit from the ban,” according to a news release from Consumer Reports. “It is unlikely manufacturers will produce two versions of their product — one to be sold in California and one for the rest of the country.”

Until then, if you want to avoid consuming red dye No. 3, for foods you can check ingredients lists for “FD&C Red #3,” and for medications, look for dyes in the “inactive ingredients” section.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Consumer

Credit cards...

Matt Gephardt

Household debt reaches record high but inflation is masking debt progress

Personal finance experts say American debt has never been higher, but considering the circumstances, it could be much worse.

14 hours ago

A group of graduates at their ceremony....

Karah Brackin

AI and budgeting are the biggest challenges for newer graduates, experts say

With graduation season in full swing, the “real world” challenges graduates face may look a little different this year.

1 day ago

A still from "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" by Ian Bonhãte and Peter Ettedgui, an offici...

KSL TV

Sundance film ‘Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story’ gets U.S. theatrical release

Sundance film "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" will get a special-even theatrical release in the U.S.

6 days ago

FILE - This combination of 2017-2022 photos shows the logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapch...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Scammers offer to help regain control of hacked social media accounts for a fee

People are advertising they can help you get back into your hacked social media accounts. It is a lie.

8 days ago

Utah Capitol where lawmakers passed a deal to possible raise a tax and quickly spend the money on d...

Lindsay Aerts

Lawmakers defend Sept. 1 contract deadline on downtown plans

The deal to raise Salt Lake City's sales tax to help house the new NHL team and revitalize downtown is moving fast and lawmakers are defending the deadline.

8 days ago

Ben Van Leeuwen scoops Kraft Mac & Cheese flavored ice cream Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in the Br...

Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press

Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s behind the weird flavors popping up on store shelves

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream usually draws customers with gourmet takes on classics like vanilla and pistachio. But occasionally, the artisanal ice cream maker headquartered in New York slips in what it calls a “shock flavor,” like Hidden Valley Ranch or pizza.

10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

California becomes first US state to ban 4 potentially harmful chemicals in food