Some common pantry items and beloved junk foods could be on the chopping block in California if one Democratic lawmaker gets his way.
California State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat from the San Fernando Valley area, introduced Assembly Bill 418 as a means to combat strange and hard-to-pronounce chemicals inundating everyday food items.
According to the Environmental Working Group, which co-sponsored AB418 and is a “nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment,” Gabriel introduced the bill on Feb. 2, and it is specifically looking to ban five “toxic chemicals” from various foods.
In no particular order, the additives on the chopping block are the following:
Red Dye No. 3
Brominated vegetable oil
“What are these toxic chemicals doing in our food?” EWG senior advocate Susan Little asked.
Little finds it preposterous that the five aforementioned chemical additives have been banned in Europe already, but not in America.
“We know they are harmful and that children are likely being exposed at a much higher rate than adults. It makes no sense that the same products food manufacturers sell in California are sold in the EU but without these toxic chemicals. Our kids need to be protected, too,” she said.
And indeed, it does appear kids are the ones being targeted by some of those chemicals.
Red Dye No. 3 alone “is found in more than 2,000 food products” that are “marketed to children.” Titanium dioxide is found in the beloved (maybe not by some) candy Skittles.
Across the board, all five additives purportedly cause severe harm to people’s bodies, per the EWG. The aforementioned Red Dye No. 3 has been linked to cancer, as has Potassium bromate. Red Dye No. 3 has also been linked to behavioral issues in kids. Brominated vegetable oil can build up in one’s body and can cause damage to the nervous system. Propyl paraben has been linked to damaging hormone and reproductive systems, including lowering sperm counts. Titanium dioxide can apparently damage human DNA and affect the immune system.
“Californians shouldn’t have to worry that the food they buy in their neighborhood grocery store might be full of dangerous additives or toxic chemicals,” Gabriel said in a February news release, announcing AB418. “This bill will correct for a concerning lack of federal oversight and help protect our kids, public health, and the safety of our food supply.”
Specifically, AB418 is looking to “ban the sale of processed foods in California that contain certain dangerous and toxic chemicals.”
The list of products that AB418 could affect ranges from things any family would find in their pantry to things that people probably shouldn’t be eating anyhow.
According to The Blaze, those affected products include those titanium-infused “Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, jelly beans, Trident sugar-free gum [perhaps this is why only four out of five dentists recommended Trident], Pez, Hostess desserts, Campbell’s soups, Old El Paso queso sauce, [and] certain brands of bread.”
This naturally begs the question: How did things get so bad in regards to these exceedingly common food items found across the country?
Gabriel blames a legal loophole that massive food processing conglomerates have manipulated.
“Currently, there are thousands of chemicals added to food to make it last longer, taste better, and appear more enticing. Shockingly, most of these chemicals have never been independently evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or were last reviewed decades ago,” Gabriel’s news release claimed. “Instead, these chemicals have entered the nation’s food supply through a loophole in federal law — known as GRAS, or ‘generally recognized as safe’ — that was intended to apply to common household ingredients like vinegar. As a result of this loophole, chemical companies have added new substances to the food supply with almost no meaningful federal oversight.”
Gabriel’s release also accused the companies using these additives of targeting “children, low-income consumers, and communities of color in the United States.”
AB418 has yet to officially make it to the governor’s desk. Assuming it does, and assuming California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, the ban on all of those products will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025, per Healthnews.
Perhaps to the shock of nobody, the U.K. Daily Mail is reporting that major “confectionery companies” are fighting back, claiming that the five additives are “safe” for consumption.
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