Skittles Lawsuit Alleges Candy “Unfit for Human Consumption” Due to Titanium Dioxide Risks
Following years of concerns about the side effects of food coloring additives, a Skittles class action lawsuit claims the popular candy is unfit for human consumption and may pose cancer risks, due to the use of titanium dioxide.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Jenile Thames in the United States District Court Northern District of California on July 14, indicating that Skittles are “unsafe for human consumption because they contain titanium dioxide (“TiO2”), a known toxin”, which places consumers at an increased risk of serious health effects due to the ability of the chemical to cause DNA changes.
Knowing the potential toxic effects of titanium dioxide, Thames claims Mars has refused to remove the toxic chemical from Skittles products due to the reliance of the food coloring additive to continue effectively marketing the products, which were built on marketing the candy’s “rainbow” colors.
Titanium Dioxide Risks
The best-selling candy company in the world, Mars Corp first made a commitment to begin removing titanium dioxide from Skittles and many other food products in 2016, after a growing body of medical research identified artificial food coloring additives such as titanium dioxide may promote the growth of cancerous tumors.
Titanium dioxide is a natural metal element that’s used in addition with other ingredients to give a natural whiteness and opacity to foods. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of the metal in food, the agency sets very low limits of no more than 1% titanium dioxide.
While the U.S. still allows the use of it in food, the European Commission has banned titanium dioxide as a food additive as of February 2022, after an assessment of available medical research could not rule out the concern for genotoxicity, and concluded the food additive can no longer be considered safe.
Thames states Mars has failed to live up to its promise of removing titanium dioxide from its food products within five years. The lawsuit states that despite Mars knowledge of the toxic effects caused by titanium dioxide since 2016, the company has failed to take adequate measures to ensure the safety of its customers.
The Skittles lawsuit presents claims for fraud, fraudulent concealment or omission, unjust enrichment and others surrounding the continued marketing and use of harmful chemicals in Skittles products.
Toxic Food Ingredients
Toxic food additives and heavy metals in infant food have become a major concern in recent years, after the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy published a report (PDF) in February 2021, which highlighted internal documents and testing data finding excessively high amounts of toxic metals in Nurture, Inc., Beech-Nut, Hain and Gerber baby food products.
Overall, the Congressional report found some baby foods had more than 91 times the maximum level of arsenic allowed in bottled water; 177 times the allowable levels of lead, 69 times the limits on cadmium, and five times the levels of allowable mercury.
Following the report, a series of toxic baby food lawsuits have been filed which allege the manufacturers made false representations to increase sales, while putting children’s lives and futures at risk by exposing them to toxic heavy metals that can cause permanent neurological damage such as autism and severe ADHD.
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