A proposed California bill could ban the sale of food items including Skittles, Hot Tamales candy, and Dubble Bubble Twist Gum.
At issue, say supporters of the legislation, is that these products contain chemicals that are toxic and dangerous.
Assemblymembers Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks introduced AB 418, which aims to bar additives such as red dye No. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propyl paraben.
According to Gabriel, these chemicals are currently banned in the European Union and pose "significant public health harms," including increased risk of cancer, behavioral issues in children, harm to the reproductive system, and damage to 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," said Gabriel. "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."
Industry stakeholders have hit back.
As the Daily Mail noted, directors from companies including the National Confectioners Association, California Grocers Association, and the American Chemistry Council noted that the additives' safety is already being reviewed through a number of existing measures.
"All five of these additives have been thoroughly reviewed by the federal and state systems and many international scientific bodies and continue to be deemed safe," a letter written in opposition to the bill, stated, according to the Daily Mail.
The letter further noted that there is a petition for the removal of red dye No. 3, which is open for comment until next month.
"As the makers of chocolate, candy, gum and mints, the confectionery industry ... we create good-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector and support thousands of additional American jobs throughout the economy," the letter continues.
"In California, the confectionary industry represents a $7.7 billion economic output, pays $1.8 billion in wages, and supports 106,351 total jobs in the state."
The letter concluded by saying "there is no evidence to support banning the listed ingredients in the bill."
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