A bill has been introduced in California by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D) that would outlaw the use of certain additives in processed foods and candies. These substances, which include brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propyl paraben, red dye 3, and titanium dioxide, are found in popular products such as Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, jellybeans, Trident sugar-free gum, Pez, Hostess desserts, Campbell’s soup, Old El Paso queso sauce, and certain brands of bread.
According to Gabriel’s statement on the matter this bill is intended to “correct for a concerning lack of federal oversight and help protect our kids, public health and the safety of our food supply.” The European Union has already banned the use of these additives due to potential public health risks such as increased cancer risk, behavioral issues for children and reproductive harm. It is also noted that these products are often marketed towards children with low-income families or communities of color being particularly vulnerable.
However, the National Confectioners Association along with other groups such as the California Grocers Association and American Chemistry Council have issued statements that cite their belief that this bill is premature given the fact that they believe these chemicals are safe. These organizations have argued that all five additives have been throughly reviewed by multiple scientific bodies and deemed safe for use in food products. As well they point out the impact this bill could have on jobs as it is estimated that confectionery industry alone adds $7.7 billion to California’s economy while providing over 100 thousand direct and indirect jobs throughout the Golden State area.
My personal take on this is that these additives are not safe. Should they be illegal? Well, I don’t think it’s necessary, I just think that people should make better choices. I don’t buy foods with those ingredients in them, and others can make that same decision if they choose to as well. Eventually, if enough people did that, the companies would change their ingredients to reflect healthier choices. We vote with our wallets. We don’t need Democrats telling us what we can and can’t eat.