A bill introduced in California aims to require manufacturers to omit certain food additives, barring five chemicals from candy, cookies, and other food items.
Jesse Gabriel, a state assembly member located in the San Fernando Valley, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, introduced the bill last month. If passed, the legislation would ban the manufacture, distribution, and sale of foods containing certain additives in California.
The proposed legislation would ban the use of five food additives: brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, FD&C Red 3, and titanium dioxide. Each of these additives is an approved food additive under FDA’s current regulations, although some, like titanium white, do have limitations or restrictions on use.
“Though some of these food additives have largely been phased out of foods, several are still widely used,” says Shawn K. Stevens, an attorney with the Food Industry Counsel, LLC, and a member of the Food Quality & Safety editorial advisory board. “If California passes this bill, the industry would likely need to either reformulate products or stop distribution in California.”
There are more than 10,000 chemicals and additives allowed in food in the United States, often in small amounts; however, many haven’t been evaluated by FDA in decades. Many were initially approved under the FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) program.
Stevens notes that the bill would serve to modify FDA’s food additive regulations for products sold in California so food additives approved by the FDA would no longer be permitted in foods sold in the state. “Unlike other California regulations that regulate the distribution of food, such as proposition 65 [which requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity], this bill would require a total ban of the targeted food additives,” he says.