SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate recently passed Senate Bill 2637, aimed at banning certain additives and chemicals in food products. The bill, which Senator Willie Preston introduced, targets additives such as titanium dioxide, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and red dye No. 3 that are present in commonplace items like candies, sodas, and snack foods.

Consumer advocacy groups highlight the presence of these chemicals in popular products like Mountain Dew, packaged breads, and some candies like Skittles. The bill also proposes further studies on the health impacts of other common additives such as BHA and BHT.

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The legislation mandates that food manufacturers and distributors phase out these chemicals and find safer alternatives by January 1, 2028. It sets penalties for non-compliance and has sparked significant opposition from the Illinois Manufacturers Association and the National Confectioners Association. These groups argue that such state-level regulations contradict federal oversight by the FDA, leading to inconsistent standards that could confuse consumers and increase food costs.

Similar legislation was recently enacted in California. There are also laws banning many of these additives in Europe. The bill now moves to the Illinois House for further consideration.

Synopsis of the bill:

“Amends the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Provides that, beginning January 1, 2027, a person or entity shall not manufacture, sell, deliver, distribute, hold, or offer for sale a food product for human consumption that contains brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, or red dye 3. Provides that a person or entity that violates the prohibition shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation and not to exceed $10,000 for each subsequent violation. Makes a conforming change.”