Will Skittles still be available in California? This question has been on the minds of Californians following the recent passage of a state bill aimed at altering the ingredients in popular candies and snacks across America.
The bill targets four specific ingredients: brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye No. 3. Initially, the bill included titanium dioxide, an ingredient found in Skittles, leading many to believe that the candy would be banned in California. However, it’s now clear that titanium dioxide has been excluded from the ban, rendering Skittles exempt from the proposed changes. Since Skittles does not contain any of the other four listed ingredients, the candy is expected to remain unchanged for the time being.
The legislation, known as Assembly Bill (AB) 418, was introduced by Jesse Gabriel, a Democratic assembly member from Woodland Hills, California. While it was initially dubbed the “Skittles ban,” the misnomer has since become apparent. The bill seeks to prohibit the sale of processed foods in California that contain certain chemicals considered hazardous and toxic.
In response to AB418, Mars, the manufacturer of Skittles, referred inquiries to the National Confectioners Association, a major industry association headquartered in McLean, Virginia. The Association strongly opposes the bill, asserting that chocolate and candy have a long history of safety and that there is no evidence to support banning the listed ingredients. They stress that the ingredients in question have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and food safety remains a top priority for U.S. confectionery companies.
Jesse Gabriel clarified that his aim is not to ban Skittles but rather to encourage American treat manufacturers to make their products less hazardous to consumers. He points out that many brands, including Skittles, have already modified their recipes in the European Union, the UK, and other regions where these chemicals are prohibited, and he advocates for similar changes in the United States.
While Skittles may be unaffected for now, as many as 12,000 products, including items like Peeps containing red dye No. 3, could potentially be impacted by AB418. However, it’s important to note that the banning of an ingredient does not necessarily lead to the removal of an entire product. The bill is not set to take effect until 2027, granting brands time to adjust their recipes rather than choosing not to offer their products in a specific state.