US Legislative Push Aims to Ban 7 Food Additives in Schools

by Ella

California Assembly Bill 2316 is making waves in the legislative arena with its ambitious goal to prohibit the presence of certain food additives in foods sold within schools during school hours. If passed, the bill would effectively outlaw the use of Red Dye No. 40, Yellow Dye No. 5, Yellow Dye No. 6, Blue Dye No. 1, Blue Dye No. 2, Green Dye No. 3, and titanium dioxide.

However, the proposed legislation is not without its critics. Rebecca Kaya, a regulatory specialist at Ashbury, a consultancy serving retailers and manufacturers, points out that the food industry may not readily embrace the bill due to its intricate requirements and potential cost implications.


The additives targeted by the bill have been linked to adverse effects on children’s behavior, including hyperactivity and decreased attention spans. Furthermore, concern over genotoxicity, which refers to DNA damage associated with cancer and compromised immunity, has prompted the inclusion of colors banned in the European Union.


While the bill seeks to build upon existing scientific assessments, it faces challenges due to the FDA’s approval of these additives for national use in the US. Compliance with a California-specific law could prove difficult, particularly given the nationwide presence of these additives.


The scope of the bill extends primarily to foods sold within school premises, posing minimal impact on the broader manufacturing sector and brands operating in California and the US. However, products containing these additives would need to be reformulated, relabeled, or removed from distribution by 2027.


The legislation’s nuanced approach allows for the continued sale of unchanged products during specific times outside of school hours. Nonetheless, brands may face logistical hurdles in managing dual versions of their products to comply with regulatory requirements.

In contrast to US regulations, the EU and Great Britain take a broader approach to food additive control, permitting additives based on food category rather than specific usage. Notably, certain additives, including the ‘Southampton Six’ colors, are banned outright in the EU and Great Britain due to their potential impact on children’s activity levels and attention.

Critics argue that the selective ban within school settings appears arbitrary, prompting calls for a more comprehensive regulatory framework akin to that of the EU and Great Britain. The debate underscores the complex interplay between food regulation, public health, and industry interests, highlighting the need for careful consideration in crafting effective policy measures.



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