On October 7, AB 418, also known as the California Food Safety Act, was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.
This landmark legislation effectively prohibits the “manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale” of food products containing four specific additives.
These additives are commonly found in approximately 12,000 food items, including candies, cereals, and sodas.
Notably, one of the additives initially considered for the ban, titanium dioxide, was omitted from the final version of the bill, sparing products like Skittles.
This law positions California as the first state in the United States to implement such a ban, mirroring similar actions previously taken by the European Union.
The four banned additives are red dye 3, propylparaben, brominated vegetable oil, and potassium bromate.
They have been associated with potential health risks, such as carcinogenic or neurotoxic correlations, as well as endocrine and reproductive damage.
Consumer Reports played a significant role in supporting this legislation, which garnered robust bipartisan support during its passage.
The implications of this ban on commonplace food items, such as cookies and juices, remain to be seen and will largely depend on manufacturers.
The law grants these companies until 2027 to adjust their recipes to comply with the ban. Notably, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had previously approved these additives for use over the years.
However, critics argue that some of these substances have not undergone reviews in decades, if at all, as pointed out by the Environmental Working Group.
Not everyone supports this new law. UC Davis food expert James Coughlin considers it “unnecessary and unscientific.”
The National Confectioners Association expressed concerns that it may confuse consumers and undermine confidence in the industry.
In contrast, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel believes these ingredients are nonessential, and the government’s goal is to encourage companies to reformulate their recipes.