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CA lawmakers consider bill that would ban foods with harmful ingredients, including soup and Skittles



A California legislator introduced a new bill last month that aims to take foods containing harmful chemicals off the shelves in the Golden State, including Skittles and Campbell’s soups. 

The new bill, introduced on February 22 by Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, seeks to remove foods from the grocery aisles in the state that contain ingredients linked to cancer, immunodeficiency, behavioral problems and reproductive problems. Gabriel argued, “Californians shouldn’t have to worry that the food they buy in their neighborhood grocery store might be full of dangerous additives or toxic chemicals.”

The specific additives and ingredients being targeted by AB-418 include Red Dye No. 3, Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, or Propyl Paraben, according to the bill’s introduction. These ingredients are already banned in the European Union due to their link to several serious health conditions, but remain legal in the US. Common popular foods that contain the ingredients are Skittles candy, some Campbell’s soups, Sour Patch Kids, some snack cakes, Sun Drop soda, and PEZ candies. 

The bill ultimately aims to replace the harmful versions of the foods with safer versions, as has been done in the EU. “Why are these toxic chemicals in our food?” said senior environmental advocate at California’s Environmental Working Group’s Governmental Affairs, Susan Little. “We know they are harmful and that children are likely eating more of these chemicals than adults. It makes no sense that the same products food manufacturers sell in California are sold in the EU but without these toxic chemicals. We thank Assemblymember Gabriel’s efforts to remove these toxic additives from California’s food supply.”

The bill is being moved through the California legislature. Its chances of being passed are unclear at this time.

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