California has become the first US state to ban red dye No. 3 and three other potentially harmful food additives from products. The landmark law is designed to protect consumers and will be the first in the country to ban the use of these ingredients in all food manufacturing.
The law – the California Food Safety Act, Assembly Bill 418 – prohibits the use of red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben, which are currently found in many popular foods, including drinks, candy, baked goods, citrus flavoring, vegetable oil, and more.
For example, red dye No. 3 is used in over 3,000 products at the moment, including protein shoes, sweets like Nerds, Skittle, and Troli gummies, cake mixes, and instant rice.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the law on Saturday, after writing a letter describing the EU’s ban on certain additives as “demonstrable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws.”
The letter went on to note that, “Signing this into law is a positive step forward on these four food additives until the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and establishes national updated safety levels for these additives.”
According to a press release, the ban will be introduced “due to scientific studies that have demonstrated significant public health harms, including increased risk of cancer, behavioral issues in children, harm to the reproductive system, and damage to the immune system.”
However, the ban won’t take effect until 2027, according to Newsom. He said that this will allow “significant time for brands to revise their recipes to avoid these harmful chemicals. Californians will still be able to access and enjoy their favorite food products, with greater confidence in the safety of such products.”
He added that because of the size of the Californian economy, “this groundbreaking law may affect food across the country, not just in California, so all Americans will likely benefit from the ban. It is unlikely manufacturers will produce two versions of their product — one to be sold in California and one for the rest of the country.”