California today inched a step closer to banning popular candies like Sour Patch Kids and Campbell’s soup unless the brands change their recipes.

The state’s Democrat-dominated Committee on Health has rubber-stamped a bill outlawing five chemicals in foods that are linked to cancer, nerve damage and hyperactivity.

Politicians say the ban — which includes red dye no.3, potassium bromate and titanium dioxide — will ‘protect children’ and bring the state into line with the rest of the world.

The European Union has already banned the chemicals from use in its foods, but in the US only red dye no.3 has been blocked from use in cosmetics to date.

If the bill becomes law, food manufacturers would need to either change their products formula or see them stripped from the shelves of America’s most populous state.

Assemblymember (Asm) Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat for District 46 who proposed the bill, said: ‘There is no realistic chance that this bill will result in Skittles or any other product being pulled off the shelf.

‘The idea here is for these companeis to make minor modifications to their recipes so that these products no longer include dangerous and toxic chemicals.’

He added: ‘Skittles and many other brands have already made changes to their recipes in the European Union, the United Kingdom and other nations where these chemicals are banned.

‘While the chemical companies might want you to believe we’re going too far with this bill, we are in fact many steps behind the rest of the world.

‘We simply want our kids to have the same protection.’

California State Assembly’s Committee on Health is Democrat controlled and has primary jurisdiction over healthcare in the state.

The bill passed the committee by 12 votes to one, with two members not recording a vote.

It will not be referred to the state’s Environment Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, which oversees rules for toxic substances and hazardous materials.

Lawmakers aim to bring the law into force in the state by January 1, 2025.

The bill, dubbed AB418 and filed alongside Democrat co-sponsor Asm Buffy Wicks, targets five additives in foods, including brominated vegetable oil and propyl paraben.

It is being co-sponsored by lobbying organizations the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports.

If it becomes law, the bill would also prevent the manufacture of food products including these chemicals in the state — even if they are sold elsewhere.

While the state assembly is only concerned with matters in California, Asm Gabriel does see the new regulations having a national impact. 

The additives are put into the foods to enhance their flavor, appearance or help keep them fresh.

Titanium dioxide is the most notable of the group.

The additive was at the center of a 2022 lawsuit filed in the Golden State last year alleging the popular candy Skittles were not fit to be eaten.

Another targeted additive is red no.3, a food dye included in many candies and other sweet treats to enhance their color.

Asm Jesse Gabriel (pictured) filed the bill last month. He hopes to 'protect' families in California by banning these potentially harmful substances

Asm Jesse Gabriel (pictured) filed the bill last month. He hopes to ‘protect’ families in California by banning these potentially harmful substances

Since the early 1980s, studies have shown the additive can cause cancer in lab animals in very high doses and has been linked to behavioral issues in children.

It was banned in cosmetic products in 1990 for these reasons, but remains in many foods and sweets including pastries and breakfast cereals.

Brian Ronholm, the director of food policy at Consumer Reports, said: ‘Despite the serious and well-documented risks posed to our health by these five food chemicals, the FDA has failed to take action to protect the public.

‘The committee’s vote is an important first step by California lawmakers to remove these harmful chemicals from candies, cookies and other processed foods.

‘At a time when the FDA’s weak oversight has prevented it from taking action, it is critical for states like California to ensure consumers are protected from these toxic food chemicals.’ 

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