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food California Bans ‘Toxic Chemicals in Our Food Supply,’ Including an Ingredient in Marshmallow Peeps Linked to Cancer

Governor Newsom has signed several bills into law, including a sweeping mandate requiring large businesses to disclose a wide range of planet-warming emissions. Newsom has until Oct. 14 to act on legislation that lawmakers sent to his desk.

Marshmallow Peeps candy is on display at a store in Lafayette, Calif., on March 24, 2023. ,AP Photo/Haven Daley, File

California on Saturday became the first state to ban four chemicals used in well-known candies and other foods and drinks because of their link to certain health problems.

Newsom signed a law banning the red dye No. 3 chemical used as food coloring for products like Peeps, the marshmallow treat most associated with Easter. The chemical has been linked to cancer and has been banned from makeup for more than 30 years.

The law also bans brominated vegetable oil, which is used in some store brand sodas, and potassium bromate and propylparaben, two chemicals used in baked goods.

Newsom said in a signing statement that the additives addressed in the bill are already banned in various other countries. All four chemicals are already banned in foods in the European Union.


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“Signing this into law is a positive step forward on these four food additives until the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and establishes national updated safety levels for these additives,” Newsom’s statement said.

Just Born Inc., the company that makes Peeps, has said it has been looking for other dye options for its products.

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat from Los Angeles.

“The Governor’s signature today represents a huge step forward in our effort to protect children and families in California from dangerous and toxic chemicals in our food supply,” Gabriel said in a statement Saturday.

The law doesn’t take effect until 2027, which Newsom said should give companies plenty of time to adapt to the new rules.


Newsom signed a law allowing legislative staffers to unionize, a move that comes after lawmakers passed several labor initiatives amid a summer of strikes by hotel workers, actors and writers.

Assemblymember Tina McKinnor, a Democrat representing Inglewood who introduced the bill, said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July that it was hypocritical for lawmakers to ask staffers to write legislation expanding other workers’ right to unionize when those staffers themselves cannot form a union.

“Our staff aren’t looking for special treatment,” McKinnor said. “They’re looking for the same dignity and respect afforded to all represented workers.”

The law allows lower-level staff to join and form a union, but it does not apply to lawmakers, chiefs of staff or appointed officers in the Legislature.

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