The state of California is banning four food additives that have been linked to diseases like cancer and neurological conditions. The law that was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8 will not be implemented until 2027, which is supposed to give producers the opportunity to change their recipes to continue offering popular products that currently contain the ingredients in the state.
One of the banned additives, ominously named red dye 3, has received the most scrutiny in the past and is also the ingredient which arguably remains in the most well-known products. Seasonal candy for the upcoming Halloween holiday contains red dye 3 for shoppers who reach for Brach's Candy Corn. Easter cult favorite Peeps Marshmallow have very few ingredients, but red dye 3 is among them for some of the colors offered. The company behind the sweet announced last week that the ingredient will be removed nationwide ahead of the 2027 deadline. Red dye 3 is also in Hostess' Ding Dong cakes and, more unexpectedly, Del Monte's fruit cups that contain cherries as well as in many other products. Another producer of fruit cups, Dole, said it had completed a phase-out of the colorant that started in March 2023.
As all four additives are already banned or restricted in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China and Japan, Californian politicians and consumer advocates are confident all recipes can be adjusted, as they have been for brands which market in the aforementioned countries and regions.
On top of red dye 3, California is banning brominated vegetable oil, an additive that is used in several citrus drinks, as well as propylparaben and potassium bromate, which pop up in some baked goods and related products, for example by Sara Lee, Betty Crocker and many other brands. Brominated vegetable oil had previously been found in Coca-Cola and Pepsi drinks - including Gatorade - as well as in Mountain Dew. It remains an ingredient in Sun Drop by KeurigDrPepper, Orangette and Stars & Stripes sodas as well as some store brand citrus drinks sold, for example, at Walmart, Dollar General, ShopRite and Food Lion, among others.
The article has been updated after information from Dole that red dye 3 has been removed from their fruit cups after a transition that started in March 2023. The color remains in fruit bowls from Del Monte and other producers.