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Confectioners Assn. Urges FDA To Override California’s Ban on Four Food Ingredients

Oct. 16, 2023
“We are urging FDA to get more involved and defend its legal, fiduciary and moral responsibility … California is out of its depth when it comes to national food safety standards and regulatory processes.”

The National Confectioners Assn. sent a letter Oct. 13 urging FDA to use its authority to override California’s upcoming ban on four food ingredients that FDA considers safe.

“We are urging FDA to get more involved and defend its legal, fiduciary and moral responsibility as our nation’s chief and centralized food safety agency,” said the letter from NCA Pres/CEO John Downs to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf. “It’s time for FDA to get off the sidelines and clear up this misinformation, because the fact of the matter is that California is out of its depth when it comes to national food safety standards and regulatory processes.”

The letter is in reference to the Oct. 7 signing of Assembly Bill 418, which prohibits the use of the four ingredients — brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye No. 3 — in any products sold in the state after Jan. 1, 2027. Some of them, particularly red dye No. 3, are used by the candy industry.

These ingredients have been shown to cause various health issues in some studies when given to animal subjects in large amounts, and all four have been banned in Europe. But FDA has neither banned nor updated safety levels for these additives.

“As you know and might agree, Governor Newsom and the California legislature, in enacting AB 418, have completely overstepped their area of expertise,” Downs’ letter continued. “Undoubtedly, the action in California has led and will lead to similar legislative proposals in other states which could result in bans of additional food ingredients that completely decentralizes FDA’s authority and create a massive patchwork of requirements for U.S. food manufacturers.

“As you know, there are limited or no alternatives for some of the ingredients subject to the California ban. [USDA] estimated that it could take a decade or longer to develop and obtain FDA approval for a safe replacement for a color additive. Take the case of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) for example. As you well know, FDA conducted two scientific studies on its own, found new data related to safety risks and initiated steps to remove BVO from the food supply in this country. This is how our food safety system was designed to work.”

There was no immediate response from FDA.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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