Gavin Newsom is coming for your Peeps


“This is demonstrable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws, country-to-country,” Newsom, a Democrat, wrote when signing the bill.

The inclusion of the Skittles bag signals that Newsom hopes to reshape the junk food industry much the same way he bent automakers to his will. The zero-emissions law forced car makers to accelerate production of electric vehicles to accommodate regulations for California’s massive market share. Other states and the federal government have followed Newsom’s lead on electric vehicles, just as they’re likely to on food additives. New York’s legislature is considering a similar bill banning the chemicals.

The California Food Safety Act bars the manufacture, sale or distribution in the state of any items containing red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil or propyl paraben. The dye is carcinogen and is used in purple and pink Peeps as well as the candy Hot Tamales, according to Consumer Reports. It is not used in yellow Peeps.

It takes effect in 2027 and carries fines of up to $10,000.

The landmark bill had bipartisan support in Sacramento, which has a Democratic supermajority. It also earned praise from former Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Things like this aren’t partisan. They’re common sense,” said Schwarzenegger in a rare statement on current legislation. “I’m a small government guy. But I’ve also seen that sometimes, in a world where every big industry has an army of lobbyists, and our kids have no one fighting for them, government has to step in.”

Many major brands like Coke, Pepsi, Gatorade and Panera have already removed the chemicals from their products over health concerns, according to the bill’s author, Democratic state Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel.

Originally known as the ‘Skittles bill’ because an earlier version of the legislation banned titanium dioxide, which is used to color the chewy candies, that chemical was removed during an amendment in the state Senate.

The bill also became a source of misinformation, mostly on the right, that California was moving to ban many popular kinds of candies, including Skittles, outright — when the author and lawmakers supportive of it said it was actually an effort to force minor alterations to the recipes. Newsom nodded to the “many misconceptions” in his signing statement.


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