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  • August 24, 2023
  • EWG

California Senate Appropriations Committee advances groundbreaking bill to ban chemicals in processed food

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The California Senate Appropriations Committee has moved forward with A.B. 418, a bill designed to prevent the use of five harmful chemicals in processed foods like candy and cereals. Authored by Assembly member Jesse Gabriel, the bill targets substances like brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromatepropyl parabenRed Dye No. 3, and titanium dioxide. This initiative is aligned with the European Union's practice of banning these chemicals from food, highlighting the need for improved processed food safety. A.B. 418 is co-sponsored by the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports, underscoring the necessity of shielding consumers from exposure to toxic chemicals. Despite concerns about its potential impact on popular food items, advocates stress the urgency of such actions, especially considering the vulnerability of children to chemical exposure.

Supporters argue that the US trails behind global norms in banning hazardous additives, posing potential health risks to American children. While more than 10,000 chemicals are permissible in US food, most approvals come from the food and chemical industry rather than the FDA. A.B. 418 aims to address this regulatory gap by advocating for safer alternatives and more rigorous oversight. While most additives are safe, the chemicals addressed in A.B. 418 have notable health concerns and were already prohibited by the EU due to their risks. Given that children are particularly susceptible to chemical exposure, the bill represents a critical step in ensuring food safety. With insufficient federal regulation, states like California are taking proactive measures to protect consumers from detrimental substances commonly found in everyday foods.



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