The Illinois Senate has passed SB2637 over to the House. It would ban certain food additives.

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act would, if enacted by the House, ban foods containing entities from manufacturing, selling, delivering, distributing, holding, or offering for sale a food product for human consumption that contains brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or red dye 3.

It passed with just one Senate floor amendment:  It was: “Provides that, beginning January 1, 2027, a person or entity shall not manufacture (rather than manufacture, sell, deliver, distribute, hold, or offer for sale) a food product for human consumption that contains brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or red dye 3. Beginning January 1, 2028, prohibits the sale, distribution, holding, or offering of a food product that contains those substances for human consumption.”  It was a conforming change.

The bill provides that a person or entity that violates the prohibition shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation and not to exceed $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

As it went over to the Illinois House, SB 2637 would ban the four food additives that are commonly found in candy, soda, and baked goods.

The Illinois Food Safety Act passed the Senate on a 37-15 bipartisan vote and will head to the House for consideration. 

The action to ban the chemicals arrived in Illinois, mimicking one in California, the first state to take the move this past year.

New York State is also on track to join the food additive ban.

The banned chemicals would include brominated vegetable oil, red dye No. 3, propylparaben and potassium bromate.

Those additives are used in a wide variety of food products. Brominated vegetable oil stabilizes citrus flavoring in sodas from separating from the solution and floating to the top. Propylparaben and potassium bromate are used as preservatives in baked goods. Red dye 3 is a common food dye used in candy and other products.

“This legislation does not seek to ban any product or take away any of our favorite foods,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Willie Preston, D-Chicago, “This measure sets a precedent for consumer health and safety to encourage food manufacturers to update their recipes to use safer alternatives.”

Last year, the FDA proposed to revoke brominated vegetable oil after a study found that the chemical affects the thyroid, creating negative health impacts.  

Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said red dye 3 may cause animal cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization unit, found potassium bromate to be possibly carcinogenic.

The bill had bipartisan support in the state Senate, with both state Sen. Seth Lewis, R-Bartlett, and state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, voting for it.

The FDA banned red dye 3 for use in makeup more than 30 years ago. So, the FDA doesn’t allow you to put it on your face for makeup. “But yet kids are eating this in candy,” McClure said in the Senate Thursday. “That, to me, is outrageous. So, for that reason, I am voting for this bill.”

Preston previously said he was considering adding titanium dioxide to the ban, but that plan was scrapped during negotiations. He said if additional research becomes available, “we’ll explore that option at that time.” In 2021, the European Food Safety Authority said it was concerned that titanium dioxide could alter people’s DNA.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association opposed the bill throughout the legislative process. In January, the IMA stated opposition to “this well-intentioned legislation,” claiming it would undermine the FDA and negatively impact Illinois’ economy as it would “create a confusing and costly patchwork of regulations.”

The National Confectioners Association, in a statement, said it would “increase food costs, undermine consumer confidence, and create confusion around food safety.” The group also argued food regulation should “rely on the scientific rigor of the FDA.”

Last year, California became the first state to ban additives.  It takes effect in 2027.  The New York Senate is currently debating a similar bill. 

The European Union bans or regulates the additives. Food additives are already regulated or banned in parts of the European Union.

In Illinois, the additives would be banned from manufacturing beginning Jan. 1, 2027, with the sale, delivery, distribution, and holding of products containing the additives being banned beginning in 2028.

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