"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Will California's ban on red dye No. 3 result in further motion?

October 27, 2023 – California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel admits it. The issue wasn't on his radar when a coalition of advocates approached him to speak in regards to the have to remove dangerous additives from the food supply.

Gabriel, a Democrat from the San Fernando Valley, also admits he hasn't at all times been the healthiest eater, but now, as a father of three young sons, “you start to think about these things. You want to please your children.”

“I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first,” he said. When he looked at the data, he was amazed. “It seems crazy to me that there were these chemicals that were banned not just in the 27 countries of the European Union, but actually in dozens of countries around the world because they are linked to significant health harm based on strong scientific evidence .”

As he walked others in the Assembly through the science, he received bipartisan support for the bill he and his colleagues introduced. On October 7, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Food Safety Act. This makes California the first state to ban the manufacture, sale or distribution of foods containing red dye No. 3 as well as three other chemicals: potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil and propylparaben.

It comes into force in 2027.

California, New York, FDA?

Now New York has proposed a similar law, Senate Bill S6055A And Assembly Bill A6424, currently in an early stage. Advocates for phasing out Red Dye #3 and other harmful additives hope these federal developments will prompt the FDA to finally take similar action and respond to a petition calling for the ban on Red Dye #3.

It has been just over a year since the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Environmental Working Group and 22 other organizations submitted this application petition with the FDA and called on the agency to ban red dye No. 3 in foods and dietary supplements.

“We await this new law [in California] will have national implications,” said Thomas Galligan, PhD, senior scientist for food additives and dietary supplements at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit advocacy group that works to make food healthier. “It certainly increases pressure on the FDA to respond [to the 2022 petition].”

The FDA acknowledged receipt of the petition the agency submitted on Nov. 15, Galligan said, but missed the 180-day deadline — May 14, 2023 — for a response.

The FDA did not respond to requests for comment about when the agency would respond to the petition or why it took so long.

Meanwhile, some companies have taken the initiative and removed red dye No. 3 from products before the legal deadline or set a deadline for removal. The maker of Peeps, the marshmallow treat popular at Easter, said it will stop using the dye after Easter 2024. But an industry group is balking at the new law, saying it will cause confusion and saying it's best to wait for the FDA's decision .

Chronology of concern

Concerns about the health effects of red dye No. 3 can be traced back to the 1990s, when research showed it caused thyroid cancer in rats, and the FDA agreed that the evidence was robust enough to support the link between the dye and “certainly detect” thyroid cancer. in rats.

This finding alone forces the FDA to act, said Galligan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, citing the so-called Delaney clause. The clause was added to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act through the Food Additives Amendment of 1958 and requires the FDA to ban any food additive that has been found to cause or induce cancer in animals or humans.

“The FDA recognized in 1990 that red dye No. 3 causes cancer in animals,” Galligan said. “Based on our review of the evidence, there have been no additional studies since the 1990 study that have refuted the FDA’s previous conclusion.”

The FDA has banned red dye No. 3 in cosmetics and topical medications, but not in foods and dietary supplements. Since the 1990 research, the additive has been linked to health problems in numerous other studies:

  • A 2021 report The California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment found that consuming synthetic food dyes can cause hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral problems in some children. The percentage of American children and adolescents diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased from about 6.1% to 10.2% over the past two decades. The report was released after a comprehensive two-year evaluation of seven FDA-approved synthetic food dyes, including Red Dye No. 3 published in the diary Environmental health.
  • In 2012 review Examining all dyes approved in the United States, researchers concluded that “all dyes currently in use should be removed from the food supply and, if at all, replaced with safer dyes.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued one Statement of Principles in 2018 on food additives and child health and concluded that significant improvements to the food additives regulatory system are urgently needed. Among other things, it calls for strengthening or replacing the GRAS from the FDA (“generally recognized as safe”) determination process that allows a product that is “generally recognized as safe” to skip the premarket review and FDA approval process.

Where can Red Dye #3 be found?

The environmental working group maintains a database, food reviews, Here products are rated based on nutritional value, food additives and processing. Staff at the Center for Science in the Public Interest searched the EWG database and found 3,183 branded foods Contains red dye #3. Also known as erythrosine, it is made from petroleum.

A partial list and the results, with 10 being the worst:

  • Brach's classic sweetcorn, 10.
  • Peeps Cookie Coop Kit, 5 Chicks, 10.
  • Pediasure Grow and Gain Strawberry Shake, 9.
  • Pez strawberry (and other flavors), 8th.
  • Ring Pop Halloween variety bag, 10.
  • Corso's Valentine Sugar Cookies, 10.

It's also found in fruit packages, chewing gum, some cake mixes and other foods, according to EWG. These colorful foods are often marketed to children, said Tasha Stoiber, PhD, senior scientist at EWG. “It is a feast and mainly children eat it. Even the amount in a portion of food can affect the most sensitive children. Not every child is affected in the same way; some are particularly sensitive.”

Red Dye #3 Substitute: Beet Powder

“Like any color additive, Red Dye No. 3 not a critical ingredient,” Galligan said. “It's just to make food visually appealing.” He and others point to the European Union, where red dye No. 3 and other additives are largely banned in food. “The food industry has already done this in the European market,” Galligan said, so U.S. food suppliers could certainly do the same.

A common alternative to red dye No. 3, according to EWG, is beet powder, which may even cost less than the dye.

efforts of companies

Dunkin' Donuts was a front runner announced In 2018, the company removed all artificial colors from its products.

In a statement, Just Born spokesman Keith Domalewski said none of its Peeps candies will contain red dye No. 3 after Easter 2024. Another of its products, Hot Tamales, no longer contains No. 3 red dye and an improved ingredient list is expected to hit shelves soon.

When asked if the company was considering a Red Dye No. To make 3-free product for California and leave it in the other products for other states, another spokesperson didn't know.

But experts at both the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Science in the Public Interest said they doubt any company would do so — both for cost reasons and because replacing red dye with other color-enhancing products, such as beet powder, is relative easy is doing. “There are alternatives [to the dyes] and it makes sense to get rid of one that we know causes cancer,” said Stoiber of the Environmental Working Group.

Brach's sweet corn, manufactured by Ferrara USA, is rated No. 1 due to its Red Dye content. 3 also has a score of 10. A spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about whether the company would remove red dye No. 3 from its products.

To make an exception

Not everyone welcomes the government's efforts. In a statement released after the California bill was signed, the National Confectioners Association said: “Governor Newsom’s approval of this bill will undermine consumer confidence and create confusion about food safety.” This law replaces a uniform one national food safety system through a patchwork of inconsistent government requirements created by fiat that will increase food costs.”

It continued: “This is a fragile descent that the FDA could avoid by addressing this vital issue. “We should rely on the FDA's scientific accuracy when assessing the safety of food ingredients and additives.”

In one (n op ed Speaking before the California bill was signed, Frank Yiannas, a former deputy commissioner for food policy and response on the FDA, called the proposed law “well-intentioned” but when enacted it will “set a dangerous precedent.” “How food safety standards come into effect”. Our nation is the perfect established.” State-by-state decisions, he wrote, would result in different regulatory standards “that may weaken our nation's food system and food safety efforts.”

While he understands that many feel the FDA is not moving quickly enough in its decision, “that doesn't mean we should always circumvent their authority.”

What's next?

Gabriel, of California, said he has received inquiries from lawmakers in other states considering proposing similar laws. He said he had two goals in signing the law. “First and foremost, it was about protecting children and families. The second was to send a message to Washington, DC about the need for some real reforms in the FDA’s food safety process.”