Skittles Just Got Banned In One Entire State

Red Dye No. 3, an ingredient in Skittles and other candy products, will be banned in California if a new law passes.

By Robert Scucci | Published

skittles banned

If you live in California, and love to “taste the rainbow,” then you might want to find a new Skittles supplier, according to Though it’s not Skittles themselves that could potentially be banned, but rather the Red Dye No. 3 that’s used in producing the colorful fruit flavored candies. Earlier this year, Assembly Bill (AB) 418 was introduced with the intent to stop the sale and production of food products that contain this problematic ingredient.

Red Dye No. 3 is a popular synthetic dye made from petroleum that gives red Skittles their signature color. If Assembly Bill 418 passes in the coming weeks, Skittles will be forced to either change their formula, or be banned in the state of California. But Red Dye No. 3 isn’t the only ingredient on the chopping block; AB 418 will also ban products that use Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, and Propyl Paraben.

This is a long time coming considering how dangerous Red Dye No. 3 actually is. In fact, this ingredient has been banned for most uses by the European Union since 1994, citing cancer risks and other health complications that come along with long-term exposure to the chemical. Though the FDA has banned the use of Red Dye No. 3 from being used in cosmetics, it’s still being used in candies like Skittles, Hot Tamales, and Dubble Bubble because its use hasn’t yet been banned for food products.

Assembly member Jessie Gabriel, who introduced the bill, stated that “it’s unacceptable that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to banning these dangerous additives.” He’s right to think this; he’s not out to rob us of our sweet treats by getting Skittles banned, but rather suggesting that there are alternative ingredients that should be considered. If the European Union was able to find an alternative, it’s safe to say that we can find a suitable replacement to Red Dye No. 3 in the United States as well.

skittles banned

The truth of the matter is that the FDA hasn’t done a great job in regulating substances that could pose a health threat to those that consume them. So this Assembly Bill can have two possible outcomes if it passes: Skittles will be banned from the state of California if they don’t want to alter their recipe, or Mars, Inc. can alter the recipe, and make their products safer for public consumption. We’re hoping for the latter, because if this precedent is set, then other states may follow suit, meaning that the FDA might reconsider their stance on using Red Dye No. 3 in consumable products.

In other words, Skittles don’t have to be banned if they change their formula. Sure, the red Skittle may not look quite the same if they take this route, but it’s a small price to pay if it means that they will pose less of a health risk. So we’re holding out hope that this proposed Skittle ban will cause a chain reaction that makes food manufacturers think twice about what kind of chemicals they are adding to their products.