Friday, September 29, 2023

Legislature agrees to ban chemicals in food

SACRAMENTO – The California State Legislature on Tuesday approved a first-of-its-kind measure to ban the use of four dangerous chemicals in processed foods and beverages sold in California.

Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 418, the California Food Safety Law, which would prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution in California of any food product containing red dye number 3 , potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil or propylparaben.

The use of these chemicals has been banned in all 27 European Union (EU) countries, as well as in many other countries, due to scientific research linking them to serious health damage, including cancer, problems reproduction, and poor health. of children.

“Today’s bipartisan vote marks a major step forward in our effort to protect California children and families from dangerous and toxic chemicals in our food supply,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel.

“It is unacceptable that the United States is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to food security.

“This bill will not ban any food or product: it will simply require food companies to make minor changes to their recipes and opt for safer alternative ingredients that they already use. in Europe and many other places around the world,” he added.

“Things like this are not partisan. They are common sense,” said former governor and sports and fitness icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently endorsed AB 418 in his daily Pump Club newsletter.

“I am a small person in government. But I also see that sometimes, in a world where every major industry has an army of lobbyists and our children have no one to fight for them, the government must intervene,” thought the former governor.

AB 418 was amended by the state Senate to remove titanium dioxide from the list of prohibited additives and delay the implementation of the bill until 2027, giving food companies more than enough time to negotiate the new contracts.

In particular, many major brands and manufacturers (including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gatorade, and Panera) have voluntarily stopped using additives banned under AB 418 due to concerns about their impact on human health.

One of these chemicals, red dye number 3, has been banned by the FDA for use in cosmetics, but is somehow still allowed in food.

Toxic chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer and other chronic health problems should not be allowed in our foods,” said Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports.

“Unfortunately, the FDA is not taking steps to protect the public despite the well-documented dangers these harmful food chemicals pose to our health,” said Ronholm.

If AB 418 becomes law, it won’t ban any products, but will require companies to make changes to products sold in California and likely trigger a national shift toward safer ones. alternative.

“AB 418 is the most important food safety bill in over a decade and its passage is a historic victory to protect children and families from dangerous food chemicals,” said Scott Faber, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. of the Environmental Working Group.

“For decades, chemical companies have been able to exploit a loophole that allows food additives to evade proper FDA review and oversight.

“Because the FDA has failed to make us safe, it’s the responsibility of states like California to step up and take the lead,” Faber said.

AB 418 now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk, where he must sign it into law or be vetoed by October 14.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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