Peeps Vows to Remove Chemical Linked to Cancer – But There’s a Big Catch

The growing backlash against a common food additive has ensnared a deeply divisive holiday treat: Peeps. The marshmallow candy, typically associated with seasonal events and wildly divergent opinions, will be having Red Dye No. 3 removed from virtually all of its various lines. In a statement provided to Consumer Reports, Just Born Quality Confections, the manufacturer of Peeps and other sugary concoctions, announced the removal of the controversial food additive. There are, however, two catches:

1. It’s not happening immediately.

2. Two lines of Peeps will still contain the additive.

“For Easter 2024, of all our PEEPS® offerings, two colors will contain Red #3 – Pink and Lavender,” Just Born said in the statement. So the change won’t be coming until next year and won’t be a complete overhaul. The company added, “All Just Born products, including Pink and Lavender PEEPS®, comply with FDA guidelines and use only FD&C certified color. HOT TAMALES® no longer contains Red #3. You will begin to see the updated ingredient list on store shelves in the coming months.” The move comes on the heels of a growing backlash to strange and hard-to-pronounce ingredients making their way into American products. In California, a law is slated to go into effect in 2027 that would ban Red Dye No. 3, among other additives, from various products. The legislation was hotly contested by the candy industry, but to no avail. With that law taking effect in a few years, and with it making no sense to produce a specific recipe for California-based products, the tide of companies ditching those banned additives will likely grow. Even before that bill, the collective sentiment against odd food additives was growing. Mars, the largest candy maker in the world, was sued in 2022 for the use of titanium dioxide in its treats. Specifically, the presence of titanium dioxide in Skittles caused that litigious uproar. Titanium dioxide is one of the additives banned under the California law. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which helped craft the critical California bill, has blasted the banned additives (Red Dye No. 3, titanium dioxide, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate and propyl paraben) for a number of purported health issues, including “a higher risk of cancer.” “We’ve known for years that Red Dye 3 and the other toxic chemicals banned under California’s landmark pose serious risks to our health,” Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports — which worked with EWG on the legislation — said in a statement. “The widespread use of Red Dye #3 is particularly concerning since it is found in many products marketed to children who are especially at risk of developing health problems from exposure,” Ronholm said. “We applaud Just Born for removing Red Dye #3 from PEEPS before the California law goes into effect in 2027 and urge other companies to do the same,” he said. The Food and Drug Administration banned Red Dye No. 3 from cosmetics in 1990, citing studies that linked it to thyroid cancer in lab animals.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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