(RightWing.org) – California’s ultra-liberal state government is notorious for meddling in residents’ lives in the name of health — it’s the only state in the country where every coffee shop has to display a government-mandated cancer warning — and now it’s gone a step further. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) recently signed a law that outlaws four suspect food additives. Now there’s pressure for the federal government to follow its example.
On October 7, Governor Newsom signed the California Food Safety Act, a law that’s been nicknamed the “Skittles ban” (even though it doesn’t actually ban Skittles — but might ban Peeps), which outlaws four food additives that have been linked to cancer and other diseases.
Manufacturers have until 2027 to remove them from all foods on sale in California, even though they’re all approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, they’re not approved by regulators in the UK, EU and most other European countries. Food safety experts are now arguing that the federal government should go down the same route as California, and raise US standards to match other Western nations.
Dr Carolyn Williams, a registered dietician, says it’s “kind of embarrassing” that a state is taking action where Washington, DC won’t. She said the FDA’s slow-moving bureaucracy means it can take years to come to a decision, and the agency also demands “overwhelming evidence” that an additive is harmful.
However, she warned that since additives can have different effects on different people, it can be hard to meet the standard of proof the FDA wants. As an example, she cited potassium bromate, which is commonly added to dough used for US baked goods — but is illegal in Europe, China, and India. It’s known to cause cancer in animals, but the FDA won’t ban it.
Williams says it comes down to a different approach to regulation. In Europe, additives are banned unless manufacturers can show the benefits are bigger than the risks; in the US they’re legal unless critics can prove they’re definitely dangerous. Williams thinks the FDA should switch to the European approach. What do you think? Should the US change the way it deals with food additives?
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