Earlier today, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 418, which prohibits “a person or entity from manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale, in commerce a food product for human consumption that contains any specified substance, including, among others, brominated vegetable oil and red dye 3 [in the state of California].”
According to the bill, which goes into effect January 1, 2027, “a violation of these provisions [is] punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation and not to exceed $10,000 for each subsequent violation, upon an action brought by the Attorney General, a city attorney, a county counsel, or a district attorney.”
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California is the first state to ban the additives, which have been linked to the increased risk of cancer and reproductive issues. The four chemicals are already illegal in the European Union and several other countries. However, they continue to be used widely in the U.S.: red dye 3 to add color to foods and medicines, potassium bromate to improve the texture of baked goods, brominated vegetable oil to prevent flavoring from rising to the top, and propylparaben as a food preservative.
“Most people would be quite surprised to learn that a known carcinogen [red dye 3] is banned for use in lipstick but still widely used in thousands of foods, including many candies, baked goods, and drinks marketed to children,” says Center for Science in the Public Interest President Dr. Peter G. Lurie. “California has corrected that absurdity for Californians, and, if past is prologue, the impact of this law will reverberate throughout the nation and at the FDA.”