Come 2027 red dye may no longer be found on California grocery shelves, if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the California Food Safety Act next month.
Introduced by Assembly Members Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, and Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, and co-authored by Assembly Members Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, and Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, the state law “would prohibit 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.”
The full list of substances that would be banned are brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye 3.
As explained by Senior Legislative Assistant for Assembly Member Gabriel, Noah Marty, there are three main reasons that these are the specific chemicals included in this bill.
First, there is strong, scientific evidence that these chemicals can have concerning health impacts, especially for children.
Second, there is evidence that these are all non-essential ingredients that can easily be replaced by other, less harmful ones.
Lastly, these products have been banned by several countries already. For example, he said that the entire European Union, along with several other areas of the world like China, the United Kingdom, India, Argentina, Canada and Brazil have already banned most or all of these ingredients.
“The U.S. really is lagging behind where the rest of the world is instead of us taking the lead on this,” he said.
Legislative Aide for Assembly Member McCarty, Alyssa Lee, said she finds it alarming that the United States is still using these chemicals while other countries have banned them.
“I think it’s time to probably start looking at the things that we consume a little more closely because I just don’t think that the federal government moves fast enough on a lot of these things,” Lee said.
She said that within the state, it’s easier to move more aggressively.
Marty said that the bill has a lot of support.
“I think we were really proud that it received such strong bipartisan support both in the senate and in the assembly,” he said.
He added how the bill was also backed by a broad coalition of supporters, including doctors, nurses, consumer advocates, youth advocates, and even high-profile celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Morgan Freeman.
The Bill Analysis does indicate that there is some opposition towards the bill in the form of associations like the Consumer Brands Association, the International Association of Color Manufacturers, National Confectioners Association and the American Bakers Association, who deem the additives to be safe.
Though this opposition does exist, one thing brands will not have to worry about with this bill is their products being taken off the market completely.
“We feel very strongly that this bill is not going to lead to any products coming off the shelves,” Marty said. “What we’re asking for is just for a simple change to the recipes that they’re using to produce these products.”
With an implementation date of Jan. 1, 2027, he said that they feel like they have given an ample amount of time for these changes to be made.
Gov. Newsom has until Oct. 14 to sign the bill into law.
Olivia Modarelli can be reached at email@example.com.