California has just taken your Skittles away! NEWSOM JUST SAID “F*CK TASTING THE RAINBOW!”
Only… not really. In fact not at all. Not even kinda.
On Saturday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 418 into law which will prohibit food products from being manufactured, sold, delivered, distributed, held, or offered for sale in California if they contain the chemicals brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or Red Dye 3.
Oh no, those happen to be all of my personal favorites!
This move puts thousands of products, including cereals, sodas, and candies at risk. Ironically, Skittles is not one of those candies. But this is a big deal because of the sheer population of California which, according to the last US census in 2021, consists of 39,237,836 people (that’s a big market!), which likely means this bill will affect you even if you live outside of the state.
The likelihood of us living in a world where thousands of food products are simply not sold in California is unlikely, meaning this will directly affect all cereals, sodas, and candies that contain the four chemicals. So why is this bill known as the Skittles ban and what does this mean for your favorite snacks and candies?
Let’s break it down.
Why Is It Called ‘The Skittles Ban?’
Because the media is lazy. According to USA Today, when AB 418 was first authored the original legislation also banned the coloring agent titanium dioxide, which is found in Skittles, M&Ms, and some dairy products like Kraft fat-free shredded cheddar cheese. No wonder that pre-shredded cheese is so delicious! (We’re kidding of course, that shit is trash)
The version of the bill that was eventually signed into law does not, in fact, include titanium dioxide but people haven’t stopped calling it “The Skittles Ban” because that sounds way sexier than AB 418.
Why Is California Banning These Four Chemicals In The First Place?
When it comes to food safety regulations, the United States is living in the past. Brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or red dye 3 have all been banned in Europe since as far back as 2008 due to various health concerns.
One in particular, red dye 3, has been found to cause cancer in animals according to the National Library of Medicine, though there are currently no studies that link the chemical to cancer in humans. Still, red dye 3 has been banned from use in cosmetics for over 30 years, so if it’s not good enough to put on your face do you really want to eat it?
So… Which Of My Favorite Snacks Are Banned And When Does The Law Go Into Effect?
In a statement to Consumer Reports, the author of AB 418, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, clarified that “This bill will not ban any foods or products — it simply will require food companies to make minor modifications to their recipes and switch to safer alternative ingredients that they already use in Europe and so many other places around the globe.”
On top of that, Ab 418 doesn’t go into effect until 2027, which should give companies enough time to revise their recipes and ditch the banned chemicals.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Not really, if you want to get really in the weeds, a single violation of the bill will impose fines up to $10,000, which means this isn’t likely something that big food brands will ignore. As we said, California is a big state, so that means it’s in food brands’ best interest to just change their recipes or risk losing millions of dollars in sales.
This isn’t a change you’re likely going to notice but we’re almost positive brands will use this as a justification to raise prices. That sucks, but shelling out some extra cents on your Skittles (again, not affected) is a hell of a lot cheaper than cancer treatment, so we’ll take it.