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Skittles Ban in California: No More “Tasting Rainbows” Here!

By Orgesta Tolaj


20 October 2023

Skittles ban

© Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

If you are currently living in California, chances are, you will not be able to “taste the rainbow” any longer! California will officially be banning Skittles all over the country, and the reason is more than concerning. The Skittles ban comes as authorities are worrying about its ingredients list and the effect it might have on people. While this legislation is called a “ban”, what the authorities are asking for, is a new production method of Skittles (and even M&Ms). Here is everything you need to know about the new law enforcement.

Why Is the Law Referred to As the “Skittles Ban”?

The “Skittles ban” legislation is known as such because it initially included titanium dioxide. This is a coloring agent used in candies like Skittles and M&Ms, as well as some dairy products such as Kraft fat-free shredded cheddar cheese. This amendment earned its nickname due to this inclusion. However, in September, when the legislation was amended, the mention of titanium dioxide was removed.

Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat Assemblyman who authored the bill (AB 418), commended its passage into law as a significant step in safeguarding California’s children and families from hazardous and toxic chemicals in the food supply. Gabriel emphasized that the legislation doesn’t ban any specific foods or products. Instead, it requires food companies to make minor adjustments to their recipes, adopting safer alternative ingredients used in Europe and other parts of the world. This move aims to bring the U.S. in line with global food safety standards.

What Caused the Skittles Ban?

California passed a bill called the ‘Skittles ban,’ which requires candy companies to alter their recipes within three years. This legislation, signed by Gavin Newsom, prohibits the use of four additives associated with health issues. This includes illnesses such as cancer, disease, and mood disorders. Non-compliance could result in fines of up to $10,000 for food companies.

skittles ban
© Lucas van Oort / Unsplash

California has introduced a bill that would mandate companies to alter the recipes of beloved sweets like M&Ms and Nerds. Additionally, in extreme cases, California will ask to withdraw their products from the market. This proposed legislation could make California the first state to ban specific food additives. The bill targets five chemicals—red dye No. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and Propylparaben. All of which are commonly used as preservatives, dyes, and texture enhancers in various food products. While these chemicals are approved for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, they are banned in Europe due to safety concerns.

The Growing Concerns

Supporters of the bill say that federal regulations have not adequately addressed scientific research linking these additives to various health issues, including cancer, neurological problems, and behavioral disorders in children. This legislation reflects a growing concern for the potential risks associated with these additives. This is particularly true in light of their ban in European markets due to safety apprehensions. The bill’s future remains uncertain, but it marks a significant move towards more stringent regulation of food additives in California.

What Are the Potential Health Risks of Skittles?

Research on these chemicals has indicated potential health risks in animal studies, which scientists believe could be relevant to humans as well. Notably, the FDA banned the use of red dye No. 3 in cosmetics in 1990 but still allows its use in thousands of food products. Similarly, potassium bromate has been banned in multiple countries, including the U.K., India, Brazil, Canada, and across Europe, due to concerns about its potential carcinogenic properties. Despite being FDA-approved, some of these chemicals, such as propylparaben and titanium dioxide, are subject to restrictions, typically limited to 1% or less of a food item’s composition.

Are you a fan of Skittles? What do you think of California’s decision to ban the sweets? Do you agree with them, or is this legislation unnecessary?

You might also want to read: Brain Health Habits to Improve Mental Health

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!