End of the rainbow? California bill would ban sales of Skittles

California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel has proposed a bill that could result in fewer items on the snack and candy aisles of local grocery stores.

AB 418, introduced by Gabriel, would prohibit the sale, manufacture, and distribution of foods containing chemicals linked to health concerns such as decreased immune response, hyperactivity in children, and increased risk of cancer.

If the bill is passed, California would become the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of such foods, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The chemicals, which are presently prohibited in the European Union, are used in popular snack items like Skittles, Mountain Dew, and Ding Dongs.

Lawmakers supporting the bill cited several scientific studies that connected the chemicals, including red dye no. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and propyl paraben, to health problems.

One study linked titanium dioxide, used in Skittles as a colorant, to weakened immune responses in rats. While approved by the FDA, the substance can only make up 1% of the food by weight.

A lawsuit against Mars, the manufacturer of Skittles, was filed in California last year, alleging that the treats were “unfit for human consumption” due to the presence of titanium dioxide.

Written by staff