California Assembly Bill 418 (AB 418) has a received a favorable 54-11 Assembly vote, which is a first-in-the-nation ban on brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, Red Dye No. 3, and titanium dioxide in candy, cereals, and other processed food. The bill will now be heard and voted on by the California Senate.
If passed, this bill, commencing January 1, 2025, would prohibit a person or entity from manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale, in commerce, a food product that contains any of the specified substances. Violations would be punishable by a civil penalty up to $5,000 for a first violation, and up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.
Titanium dioxide is a powder used as a white colorant or to give a smooth texture in candies and other processed foods. Potassium bromate is added to baked goods to strengthen dough and its ability to rise. Brominated vegetable oil is used in some beverages to keep citrus flavoring well mixed, rather than rising to the top of the beverage. Propylparabens are used for antimicrobial food preservation. Red Dye No. 3 is used in many popular candies as a colorant.
This law, if passed, would seek to ban substances that are duly approved in the US and poses a direct challenge to the preemptive authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate foods in the US. Keller and Heckman will continue to monitor this area and relay any developments.