California Becomes First US State To Ban 4 Potentially Harmful Chemicals In Food

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A historic bill prohibiting red dye No. 3 and other potentially dangerous food additives in consumer goods has been signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental health organization that cosponsored the law with Consumer Reports, the Golden State became the first in the nation to restrict the use of the substances present in many popular sweets, drinks, and other products on Saturday.

Assembly Bill 418, also referred to as the California Food Safety Act, was introduced in February by Assemblymen Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks. It forbids the production, distribution, or sale of food items in California that contain red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben.

Adding potassium bromate to baked items helps the dough become stronger and rise more. Citrus flavour is emulsified in some beverages by brominated vegetable oil, avoiding separation. Propylparabens are used to preserve food in an antibacterial manner.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Eat Well Guide, nearly 3,000 goods include red dye No. 3, including boxed cake mixes, protein shakes, instant rice and potato products, and candies like Skittles, Nerds, and Trolli gummies.

The governor referred to the availability of Skittles across the European Union in his letter, citing it as “demonstrable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws.”

In the EU, where these chemicals are prohibited “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, Newsom’s action brings the United States a little closer to a food environment similar to that of the EU.

“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.