Lawmakers in multiple states are considering the prohibition of specific food additives following California’s ban on four dangerous chemicals in food. 

Last fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that prohibits the manufacture, sale and distribution of food products that contain brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or red dye 3, all of which have been linked to things like hyperactivity and neurobehavioral effects in children, digestive tract problems and an increased cancer risk, according to Consumer Reports. 

The law will go into effect in January 2027. Any violations of the California Food Safety Act will result in a civil penalty.


States like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Missouri are looking to follow suit. 

There is a bill in the New York Senate, that would, if passed, “prohibit the use of certain substances as food additives or color additives in the manufacture and commercial distribution of food products.” 

Like California, this bill includes brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, red dye 3 and titanium dioxide. 

A bill being considered in Pennsylvania would also prohibit the use of potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil and butylated hydroxyanisole. Meanwhile, another bill being proposed in the state would prohibit the use of red dye 3, red dye 40, yellow dye 5, yellow dye 6, blue dye 1 and blue dye 2. 


A bill introduced in Illinois last November would also prohibit the manufacturing, distribution and sale of food and beverages that have brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye 3. If passed, this bill would go into effect in January 2027.

Shoppers inside a grocery store in San Francisco, California, on May 2, 2022.

Similarly, a bill was proposed in Missouri that would ban the manufacturing, distribution and sale of food and beverages containing the food additives brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye 3. It would also take effect in January 2027 if passed. 

In November 2023, the Food and Drug Administration proposed to revoke the regulation authorizing the use of brominated vegetable oil in food after conducting studies “that clearly show adverse health effects in animals in levels more closely approximating real-world exposure.”

The FDA said in a statement that it “can no longer conclude that this use of BVO in food is safe.” 

Foods that could be affected:

  • PediaSure Grow & Gain, Strawberry shake: The ingredients include red 3.
  • PEZ Candy Assorted Fruit (Cherry, Strawberry, Grape, Raspberry, Orange, Lemon): The ingredients include artificial colors FD&C red dye 3, yellow dye 6, blue dye 2.
  • PEZ Cotton Candy, Candy Corn and Banana: The ingredients include artificial colors FD&C red dye 3, yellow dye 5 and yellow dye 6.
  • Hot Tamales: The ingredients include yellow dye 6.
  • Jelly Belly Candy Corn: The ingredients include red dye 3.

Abbott, which owns the PediaSure brand, told FOX Business that it “previously committed to remove Red 3 from all PediaSure products in 2024” and that it is “on track to meet that goal by this summer.”

How the potentially banned ingredients are used today: 

Red dye No. 3

Otherwise known as erythrosine, red dye No. 3 is made from petroleum and gives foods and drinks a bright cherry-red color, according to the FDA. 

The FDA in 1990 denied a petition to authorize use of red No. 3 in cosmetics and topical drugs because of data demonstrating that it is associated with animal carcinogenicity.

US inflation

It can be used in baked goods, candies, frostings, icings, cereals and beverages, according to the University of Rhode Island. 


BVO, a vegetable oil that is modified with bromine, is authorized to be used in small amounts as a stabilizer for fruit flavoring in beverages to keep the citrus flavoring from floating to the top, the FDA said. The agency said that many beverage makers have reformulated their products to replace BVO with an alternative ingredient. 

Potassium bromate

Potassium bromate is an oxidizing agent used as a food additive, mainly in the bread-making process, according to the National Institutes of Health.  

Titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a synthetically produced white pigment that is used in a variety of FDA-regulated foods, such as bakery products and candy. 


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