4 Food Ingredients That Soon Will Be Illegal in One State

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Frowning man with cola soda and fries
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When you munch on your favorite foods or sip your drink of choice, do you really understand what is going into your body?

Sometimes, these foods might contain additives linked to serious health problems, according to Consumer Reports.

For that reason, CR joined forces with the Environmental Working Group to advocate for a bill — the California Food Safety Act — to ban several chemicals from being used as additives in any food items or drinks sold in the Golden State.

The bill, which is the first measure of its type in the nation, recently passed the state legislature. As of Sept. 19, it is awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, which officially will make it state law. Once signed, the measure will go into effect in 2027.

According to Consumer Reports, the health risks associated with these ingredients — all of which have been banned as food additives in Europe — include cancer, problems with several vital organs, reproductive issues and behavioral issues.

Following are the substances that soon will be prohibited from use in food and drinks in California.

Red dye No. 3

Red sugared almonds
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What it is: Red dye No. 3 — also known as erythrosine — is a synthetic dye made from petroleum.

What it’s in: Red dye No. 3 gives a cherry-red appearance to “thousands of food products,” according to Consumer Reports. These include candies, strawberry-flavored drinks and many processed foods.

Why it’s concerning: Red dye No. 3 has been linked to cancer and thyroid tumors in lab animals and to hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral impacts in children.

Brominated vegetable oil

Glass of soda
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What it is: Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is a vegetable oil with the chemical bromine added to it.

What it’s in: Brominated vegetable oil is used as an emulsifier in sports drinks and sodas, helping to blend liquids that otherwise don’t blend easily.

Why it’s concerning: Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to neurological issues and problems with the heart, liver and thyroid. It also is associated with behavioral, developmental and reproductive problems.

Potassium bromate

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What it is: Potassium bromate is a white crystal powder and oxidizing agent. It’s used in flour to strengthen dough and help baked goods rise higher in the oven.

What it’s in: Packaged breads, dumplings and frozen foods all may contain this additive.

Why it’s concerning: Potassium bromate has been linked to cancer.


wrap sandwich
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What it is: Propylparaben belongs to the paraben family of preservatives.

What it’s in: Propylparaben is used as a preservative to extend the shelf life of packaged foods by helping prevent mold and bacteria from growing. It can be found in packaged corn tortillas, baked desserts and cake icing.

Why it’s concerning: In lab animals, propylparaben has been shown to cause endocrine and reproductive issues.

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