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California Pioneers Ban on Four Food Chemicals, Including Red Dye No. 3

Governor Gavin Newsom of California has endorsed a bill restricting the use of four food additives, marking the first instance where a U.S. state has rejected compounds approved by the FDA.

By 2027, the state will no longer permit the use of red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and propylparaben, following the ratification of Assembly Bill 418 on Saturday. These additives, already banned in the European Union and other regions globally, are found in various U.S. products including certain sodas, confectioneries, and other processed foods.

These compounds are tied to health concerns, including hyperactivity in children and potential cancer risks.

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, alongside Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, spearheaded the bill and expressed profound gratitude to the governor.

Highlighting the intent behind the bill, Gabriel stated, “The objective is not to remove any food items but to encourage companies to adopt minor changes using substitutes that are already in use internationally.” He added, “Consumers will continue to enjoy their favorite products, but without these concerning additives.”

The Environmental Working Group, a health-focused research and advocacy group that supported the bill, believes that the legislation could prompt nationwide changes. Given the market size of California, food and beverage producers might modify ingredients in potentially thousands of products across the U.S., rather than produce California-specific versions.