June 21, 2024

California Bans Red 3, Brominated Vegetable Oil, Other Additives

California bans Red 3, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, and propylparaben from being added to food because of possible adverse health effects. The governor signed the legislation on October 7, 2023. Industry has until 2027 to comply with this new law. The synthetic dye, Red 3, is made from petroleum.

California Bans Red 3, Brominated Vegetable Oil, Other Additives

The law, Assembly Bill 418, makes California the first state in the country to ban the use of these additives in packaged foods. The FDA says they are safe to consume.

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) states that the FDA learned Red 3 was a carcinogen in the 1980s and declared it as a carcinogen in 1990. This 2012 article from The National Library of Medicine states that Red 3 causes cancer in animals. The FDA has eliminated the use of this food dye from cosmetics and drugs that are applied to the skin. But food was not included in that ban.

The government said it would “take steps” to ban the use of Red 3 in foods, ingested drugs, and dietary supplements in 1990. But no action has been taken on that front. The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA last year to finally eliminate this dye from the nation’s food supply.

CSPI president Dr. Peter G. Lurie said in a statement, “Most people would be quite surprised to learn that a known carcinogen is banned for use in lipstick but still widely used in thousands of foods, including many candies, baked goods, and drinks marketed to children. 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.”

This isn’t the first time California acted before the FDA on additive in food. In 2008, the state banned artificial trans fat from restaurant food. It took the FDA until 2015 to order manufactures to eliminate artificially produced trans fats from food within three years.

This law is not going to ban certain foods in the state. Companies will need to alter their formulations for foods to comply with the law, as they did that with trans fats.

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