California lawmaker to introduce bill to remove artificial dyes from foods served in school

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A state legislator introduced a first-of-its-kind bill Tuesday that would ban seven additives from the foods that are served in California’s public schools.

Assembly Bill 2316 would prohibit school cafeterias from offering foods containing six artificial food dyes that have been linked to hyperactivity and behavioral issues in some children. It would also outlaw titanium dioxide, a whitening agent used in candies and other products that is banned by the European Union because of concerns that it is potentially genotoxic, meaning it may damage DNA and cause cancer.

The bill, which was first shared with NBC News, would affect certain cereals, condiments and baked goods, among other foods, and it would make California the first state to ban the additives from schools. It was introduced by Democratic Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel.

“This legislation will not ban any specific foods or products,” Gabriel said Tuesday at a virtual news conference. “The goal here is to encourage companies to make minor modifications to products sold in California if they want their products to be sold in California public schools.”

The necessary recipe tweaks would be as small as changing one ingredient, Gabriel told NBC News, adding that many products sold on grocery store shelves use natural substitutes such as turmeric, beet juice or pomegranate juice for coloring.

Synthetic dyes “are nonessential ingredients,” Gabriel said in a phone interview before introducing the bill. “These are chemicals that are added to food to make them appear more appealing. But for all of them, there are specific alternatives.”

In addition to titanium dioxide, the bill would ban Red 40, Green 3, Blue 1 and Blue 2, and Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in foods served by schools. 

The Food and Drug Administration has said it has not established a causal relationship between behavioral problems and synthetic dyes for children in the general population who haven’t been diagnosed with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

But Gabriel said a comprehensive assessment from the state of California showed otherwise. The 2021 evaluation found an association even in some children without ADHD diagnoses.

“Overall, our review of human stud

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Author : usa-news

Publish date : 2024-03-13 23:47:09

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