A bill to ban additives used in popular candies and processed foods has been signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday.
The ban affected certain candies such as Peeps, Hot Tamales, and Dubble Bubble Twist Gum, along with thousands of other food products.
Written by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), AB 418 prohibits the manufacture, sale and distribution of foods containing Red Dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben. Officials hailed the bill as a “first-of-its-kind legislation” in the US
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Gabriel’s office said the bill would not bring any products off the shelves, but would only require manufacturers to adjust their formulas.
“The use of banned chemicals is already banned in 27 countries of the European Union (EU) as well as in many other countries due to scientific research linking them to significant health damage, including cancer, reproductive issues, and behavioral and developmental issues in children,” said Gabriel.
Several major brands and manufacturers — including Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade, and Panera — have voluntarily stopped using additives banned under AB 418, known as The California Food Safety Act, due to concerns about their health effects. in person, Gabriel’s office said.
In 1990, the FDA banned red dye No. 3 from cosmetics after it was linked to cancer in animals. Gabriel sees clear evidence that the agency is moving too slowly.
“The FDA looked at red dye No. 3, looked at the research and the science, and said, ‘This is a carcinogen.’ But 33 years later, it’s still in our food supply, and it blows your mind.”
The National Confectioners Association, which represents dozens of candy and chocolate makers, blasted the new law saying, “(it) replaces a uniform national food safety system with one patchwork of inconsistent state requirements created by legislative fiat that add to the cost of food. It’s a slippery slope that the FDA can avoid by getting involved in this important topic.”
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The law, the NCA insists, treads on territory that should be governed by the federal government, not the states.
“They make decisions based on soundbites rather than science. Governor Newsom’s approval of this bill will undermine consumer confidence and create confusion about food safety,” the trade group said.
The implementation of the ban will take place until 2027 to give food companies enough time to negotiate new contracts and make the necessary recipe changes.
Gabriel said there was enough support to advance the bill as originally planned, but a fifth chemical, titanium dioxide, was dropped in an effort to gain more widespread bipartisan support.
Titanium dioxide is a color additive that makes products more “visually appealing” and helps prevent the pigment from losing its luster over time. Excluding the ingredient from the law, however, means Skittles and other candies that use the chemical won’t have to make any changes or tweaks to the recipe to comply with the California law.
“Things like this are not partisan. They’re common sense,” said former governor and sports and fitness icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, who endorsed AB 418 in his daily Pump Club Newsletter. “I am a small person in government. But I also see that sometimes, in a world where every major industry has an army of lobbyists, and our children have no one to fight for them, the government has to act.
“Today’s Governor’s signature represents a huge step forward in our effort to protect California children and families from dangerous and toxic chemicals in our food supply,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “It is unacceptable that the US is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to food safety.”