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California Passes ‘Skittles Ban’ Legislation to Remove Harmful Additives from Food Products

In a significant move to ensure food safety, California has enacted a law mandating candy producers and food manufacturers to modify their recipes within the coming three years to exclude certain harmful additives or face penalties.

Governor Gavin Newsom gave his assent to the bill, colloquially dubbed the ‘Skittles ban,’ this past Saturday. This bill zeroes in on four prevalent additives that have been scientifically associated with various health issues ranging from cancers to mood disorders.

The additives in the spotlight are brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye No.3. Current data from the Environmental Working Group suggests that close to 12,000 products available in California include these ingredients.

According to the stipulations of the freshly minted law, food corporations active in the state have a 36-month grace period to eradicate these specific ingredients from their merchandise. Failure to do so could result in penalties that can reach a staggering $10,000.

While the law’s supporters laud it as a monumental leap toward ensuring food safety, various food corporations have voiced their reservations. They have pointed out that this new mandate could sow confusion and possibly even escalate the prices of food items.

Interestingly, an initial version of this bill had also encompassed titanium dioxide, a component present in candies like Skittles. However, this ingredient was eventually dropped from the bill’s final version in September, thus leading to its informal title, the ‘Skittles ban.’

Scheduled to come into force in January 2027, corporations found either producing, distributing, or vending products that contain any of these banned additives post this date might have to pay up to $10,000 as a penalty.

Governor Newsom articulated that this legislation marks an advancement in the right direction, especially pending the formation of national directives by the FDA regarding these additives. Parallel measures to ban these detrimental food chemicals are also under contemplation in several other states, including New York. It’s worth noting that the European Union had already barred these additives in food items, compelling various companies to revisit and modify their products.

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