The manufacturers that use red dye No. 3 and four other food additives may run out of time in California.

The State Senate Appropriations Committee takes up Assembly Bill (AB) 418 on Aug. 14, which bans five chemicals found in thousands of foods. It would prohibit the sale in California of foods containing certain substances regardless of where the are made.

The California Assembly passed AB 418, which is far down the field in the State Senate. The California Legislature remains in session for nearly the entire year.

If enacted,  AB 418 will prohibit these five substances: red dye No. 3, brominated vegetable oil, titanium dioxide, propylparaben, and potassium bromate.  Foods containing any of these ingredients could not be sold in California. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not touched on these issues for years.  That was when red dye No. 3  was banned from cosmetic and other uses but remained common in foods.

 If California takes action, it’s likely to increase the likelihood of future federal action.

Research has linked the five additives to cancer risks and various development problems. The European Union does not allow any of the five additives in food. The FDA reports that it makes periodic reviews.

More than 10,000 chemicals are allowed in food sold in the U.S. 

Nearly 99 percent of those introduced since 2000 were approved by the food and chemical industry, not the Food and Drug Administration, the agency tasked with ensuring the food supply is safe.

Two national non-governmental organizations are backing AB 418: The Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports.

Earlier in July, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee heard AB 418 before sending it to the Appropriations Committee on a 5-to-1 vote.

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