California lawmaker introduces bill to prohibit 6 artificial food additives in school

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Legislation in California was introduced Tuesday to stop public schools from serving six artificial food dyes in school cafeterias. 

Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3 and titanium dioxide are all on the list of synthetic food additives that would be banned from school cafeterias if Assembly Bill 2316 passes in California. 

Earlier this year, assembly member Jesse Gabriel also introduced AB 418, legislation that would ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of products containing five specific and widely used food additives across the Golden State: red dye 3, potassium bromate, propylparaben, titanium dioxide, and brominated vegetable oil.

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Cafeteria and food split image

Legislation in California was introduced Tuesday to stop public schools from serving six artificial food dyes in school cafeterias.  (Getty Images)

These ingredients, all approved for consumption by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are used in several popular food items, especially candy.

Gabriel is now pushing for legislation to prevent the use of certain artifical additives in schools. 

“Basically, the companies that produce these products that are sold in schools would have a choice,” Gabriel told Fox 11 Los Angeles in an interview. “They can either make minor modifications to their recipes to remove these ingredients, all of which there are strong signs showing that they can cause cancer, ADHD and neurobehavioral issues in kids.”

“So they can make the decision to do what they already did in Europe and a lot of other places which is to substitute out those harmful chemicals for safer alternatives,” he said. 

“Or, the school districts would then have to switch to another product, so maybe they would have to switch from one brand of apple sauce to another, or one brand of muffins to another.” 

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California flag and state capitol split image

Earlier this year, Gabriel introduced AB 418, legislation that would ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of products containing five specific and widely used food additives across the Golden State: red dye 3, potassium bromate, propylparaben, titanium dioxide, and brominated vegetable oil. (Getty Images)

Gabriel said that he was working with stakeholders — people in the food industry, nutritionists at public schools and other interested parties — in order to make the bill as effective as possible at preventing children from coming into contact with artifical food dyes and additives. 

“To me, it’s a common sense measure as somebody who struggled with ADHD growing up, who’s a dad of three kids, who has a child with an ADHD diagnosis who’s sometimes struggled,” Gabriel said. “The idea that we would put all of this love and attention and care and therapy and support into our kids in the morning and then serve them some food at lunch that’s just going to exacerbate those challenges and undo all that good work doesn’t make any sense.” 

“We want to make sure that we’re protecting our kids in our schools and serving them food that’s not going to increase their challenges that they may have,” he added. 

Gabriel said the legislation was intended to make the food in schools “safe” and that they won’t “harm them or interfere with their ability to learn.” 

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Gabriel’s office and the FDA did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital

Fox News’ Aaron Kleigman contributed to this report. 

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