California Governor Gavin Newsom recently enacted a pioneering law targeting the prohibition of red dye No. 3 and other potentially harmful additives in consumer goods. This makes California the first state in the US to restrict these ingredients, commonly found in various candies, beverages, and more. The Environmental Working Group, along with Consumer Reports, sponsored this legislation, officially named the California Food Safety Act, or Assembly Bill 418. Introduced by Assemblymembers Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks, the law now bars the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food items in California containing potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben and red dye No. 3. These substances serve different functions, from enhancing dough in baked goods to preserving food antimicrobially.

Nearly 3,000 products, including popular items like Skittles, Nerds, Trolli gummies, as well as protein shakes, instant rice, and boxed cake mixes, incorporate red dye No. 3. Governor Newsom pointed to Skittles’ availability in the European Union as proof of the food industry’s adaptability to meet public health standards. This brings the U.S. closer to EU regulations, which ban these chemicals due to their proven health risks. These include heightened cancer risk, behavioral issues in children, reproductive system harm, and damage to the immune system. Newsom sees this law as a positive step until the U.S. FDA establishes updated safety standards. It goes into effect in 2027, giving brands ample time to adjust their recipes, ensuring Californians can still enjoy their favorite foods confidently.