The state requires all foods containing certain chemicals to provide warning labels. The St. Louis chip maker refused to add the warning to its bags.
The addictive Red Hot Riplets are made in Old Vienna in St. Louis, an area staple since the 1930s. The family-run food distributor ships chips and other products nationwide from its headquarters in Fenton.
The bags are iconic, letting people know that the chips have the taste of St. Louis-style hot barbecue sauce. However, another part of the bag left one 5 On Your Side viewer scratching his head.
Black text in the upper right corner of the bag stands out against other red and orange stylized fonts and reads “NOT FOR SALE IN CA.” The viewer, named Jacob, asked 5 On Your Side if it’s true that California can’t taste the delicious chip flavor and, if so, why?
We dug up the facts to VERIFY the claim.
Are Red Hot Riplets not allowed to be sold in California?
What we found
In 1986, California residents passed Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The proposition primarily regulates substances determined by the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Acrylamide is one of the chemicals on the proposal list. It has been listed as a possible human carcinogen under the proposal since 1990 and is created in some foods when they are cooked at high temperatures, such as potato chips. The chemical’s low-level effects on humans are unknown, according to the CDC, but animal testing has shown acrylamide causes reproductive problems, nerve damage and cancer.
“Acrylamide is commonly found in potato chips and many other types of fried and baked foods,” said Amy Gilson, a representative of the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Businesses that sell products containing acrylamide have one of two options: either change the manufacturing process to reduce the level of acrylamide to the lowest possible level or place a warning label that informs consumers. consumer about the chemical presence in the product.
“A number of potato chip manufacturers met this standard and sold their potato chips in California without warning,” Gilson said.
Old Vienna chose the third option: not to reduce the acrylamide level or provide a warning label.
“We can’t change our bags just for one state,” said Old Vienna Office Administrator Elisha Schaffer. “Because our product is not manufactured in California, we don’t have that warning on our products, and we don’t change our bags to put that warning on there, so … we’re not allowed to ship to California.”