California Food Safety Act Bans Harmful Additives: What You Need to Know!
On October 7, Governor Gavin Newsom made a significant move by signing AB 418, also known as the California Food Safety Act, into law. This groundbreaking legislation prohibits the “manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale” of food products containing four additives found in about 12,000 candies, cereals, and sodas. Initially, there were concerns that Skittles might vanish from store shelves due to this law, but after revisions, the final bill excludes titanium dioxide, the chemical that would have affected the colorful candy.
The ban targets additives like red dye 3, propylparaben, brominated vegetable oil, and potassium bromate, which have been linked to carcinogenic or neurotoxic correlations and endocrine and reproductive damage, as reported by 24 groups and scientists. The European Union had already outlawed these additives, and now California becomes the first U.S. state to enforce such a ban. Consumer Reports co-sponsored the bill, emphasizing its “groundbreaking” nature, backed by “strong bipartisan support.”
However, the implications for common pantry staples like cookies and juices are in the hands of manufacturers. The law grants companies until 2027 to reformulate recipes without the banned additives. While the FDA had approved these substances for years, the lack of recent reviews raised concerns, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Critics, including UC Davis food expert James Coughlin, argue that the ban is “unnecessary and unscientific.” The National Confectioners Association expressed worries about consumer confusion, questioning the confidence in the industry. Nevertheless, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel defended the law, labeling these ingredients as “nonessential” and stating that the government aims to encourage companies to adjust their recipes.