Titanium dioxide has been removed from the list of chemicals that would be banned as food additives under California Assembly Bill 418, which was first introduced in March 2023 and was recently named the California Food Safety Act. If enacted, the bill would still prohibit the sale of processed foods containing brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or red dye 3 in the state of California.
The amendments were made to the California Food Safety Act by the state Senate on the first of September. The bill now awaits a Senate vote, and if it passes the Senate, the bill will move forward to the Governor to sign into law.
If enacted, the bill would commence January 1, 2027, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, delivery, distribution, holding, or offering for sale of the four remaining chemicals in foods produced for human consumption. Violation of the California Food Safety Act would be punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation and not to exceed $10,000 for each subsequent violation, upon an action brought by the Attorney General, a city attorney, a county counsel, or a district attorney.
The chemicals listed in AB 418 are being targeted for their associated human health risks. Despite their prohibition as food additives by the EU, in the U.S., the substances are commonly used in processed foods.
Although the California Food Safety Act was originally introduced by Assembly member Jesse Gabriel (D-46) to “correct a concerning lack of federal oversight” due to “loopholes” in U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) processes, titanium dioxide has been removed from the bill based on FDA’s stance that it is safe as a regulated color additive in foods. In response to the bill’s original introduction in March, the agency made a statement backing up the adequacy of FDA’s review of the chemicals targeted by AB 418.