California Is Banning Four Food Additives — But Don’t Worry, Your Skittles Are Safe

California Is Banning Four Food Additives four food additives in various products. This groundbreaking legislation, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 7, has garnered significant attention, particularly for its potential impact on beloved treats like Skittles. However, the final version of the bill excluded one key ingredient, titanium dioxide, which would have affected the vibrant colors of these candies. Despite this revision, the ban encompasses numerous food items, including Peeps, certain red velvet cupcakes, and more.

The Pioneering Ban

California’s decision to ban these additives places it at the forefront of food safety regulation in the United States. The European Union had already prohibited the use of these additives, which include red dye 3, propylparaben, brominated vegetable oil, and potassium bromate. The passing of the California Food Safety Act was notably characterized by strong bipartisan support, with Consumer Reports co-sponsoring the bill.

The Impact on Everyday Products

The implications of this ban on commonly consumed food products remain to be seen. Manufacturers have until 2027 to reformulate their recipes to exclude the banned additives, all of which have raised concerns regarding their potential carcinogenic, neurotoxic, or endocrine-disrupting effects. These additives are commonly found in a wide range of products, such as propylparaben in popular brands of trail mix and potassium bromate in certain tortilla brands.

FDA Approval vs. Public Concern

It is essential to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved these additives for years, despite some of them having not been reviewed for decades or, in some cases, not reviewed at all. This discrepancy between FDA approval and public concerns has led to a polarized debate.

UC Davis food expert James Coughlin argues that banning these chemicals is “unnecessary and unscientific.” On the other hand, critics argue that public health should be the paramount concern, emphasizing that the government’s intention is to encourage companies to reformulate their products.

The Industry’s Response

The National Confectioners Association has expressed concerns that this new law will confuse consumers and erode confidence in the industry. However, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel has a different perspective, asserting that these ingredients are “nonessential” and that the government’s goal is to encourage companies to adapt their recipes in the interest of public health.


The California Food Safety Act represents a significant step forward in regulating food additives and their potential health effects. While it has faced criticism from some industry players and experts, it reflects a broader trend toward increasing scrutiny of the ingredients used in our food. It remains to be seen how this ban will reshape the food industry and the products available to consumers.


1. What are the four food additives banned by the California Food Safety Act?

The banned additives are red dye 3, propylparaben, brominated vegetable oil, and potassium bromate.

2. Are these additives considered harmful to health?

Yes, these additives have been associated with potential carcinogenic, neurotoxic, or endocrine-disrupting effects, which raised concerns among health experts and advocacy groups.

3. When will manufacturers need to comply with the ban on these additives?

Manufacturers have until 2027 to reformulate their recipes and remove the banned additives from their products.

4. Why did the California Food Safety Act exclude titanium dioxide from the ban?

Titanium dioxide was excluded from the ban, sparing colorful candies like Skittles from the regulatory impact.

5. How did the FDA’s approval of these additives conflict with public concerns?

The FDA had approved these additives, despite some not having undergone reviews for decades or at all. This discrepancy led to public concerns about food safety.

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