California Moves Ahead of the FDA in Banning Common Candy Additives

by | Oct 20, 2023 | Health

Halloween candy could be in for a California makeover.

Asserting that the Food and Drug Administration has not moved quickly enough on dangerous food additives, state lawmakers last month passed the California Food Safety Act, which bans four ingredients found in popular snacks and packaged foods — including candy corn and other Halloween treats.

Consumer health advocates hope the ban, signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 7 and set to take effect in 2027, will lead confectioners and food producers to modify their recipes for products sold both in California and elsewhere around the country.

The law prohibits the manufacture and distribution of brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye No. 3, which are used in processed foods including variations of instant potatoes and store-brand sodas, as well as candies. The additives have been linked to increased risks of cancer and nervous system problems, according to the Environmental Working Group, which sponsored the legislation, and are already banned in many other countries.

Melanie Benesh, vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, celebrated the new law as “a very big deal” and the first of its type in the country.

Food manufacturers and their lobbyists opposed the legislation, rejecting the idea that the four additives are unhealthy and arguing that such assessments should be made by the FDA.

“We should rely on the scientifi …

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