Skittles ‘unfit for human consumption,’ California lawsuit claims
Skittles, the colorful, fruit-flavored candy, are coming under fire after a lawsuit filed in Northern California says people are tasting more than the rainbow.
Although most people can identify Skittles flavors like lemon, strawberry and orange, few can probably name titanium dioxide, a coloring additive that helps give the candies their bright hue.
That ingredient is a “known toxin” and “unfit for human consumption,” according to a lawsuit filed last week against the Mars candy company in the Northern District of California. It argues that U.S. consumers are not aware of the health risks associated with the artificial food coloring.
Titanium dioxide — or TiO2 — is listed as an active ingredient in Skittles sold in the United States, although it has been removed from the candy’s recipe in several European nations and banned in several other countries, according to the lawsuit.
Among the colorful candies the suit names that do not use titanium dioxide are bright-red Swedish Fish Soft & Chewy Candy, Black Forest Gummy Bears and Sour Patch Kids. Even M&Ms, which are also sold by Mars Inc., do not use titanium dioxide, the lawsuit says.
Tatiana Santos, chemicals manager with the European Environmental Bureau, a network of citizens’ advisory groups, told the Guardian that the U.S. has a “wait and see” approach when it comes to regulation over food ingredients.
“The U.S. often waits until the harm is done, and the EU tries to prevent it to a certain extent,” Santos told the Guardian. “It often seems the U.S. favors the market over protection.”