These Common U.S. Snack Ingredients are Banned or Restricted Abroad

From making our food look delicious to making it texturally satisfying, these ingredients are hard to let go of.

Last year, the California Food Safety Act was introduced, prohibiting the use of four key ingredients—Red Dye No. 3, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, and propylparaben in food in the state. Studies on both animals and humans have linked these additives to possible negative health impacts.

The bill, which was amended and approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom in early October, does not take effect until 2027. Any business who violates the law would face a first fine up to $5,000 and up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

While these and other ingredients have been restricted (such as by being subject to warning label requirements) or outright banned in other countries, they’ve remained rampant in the American diet.

Some experts say that at this point, we should be more concerned about super processed foods in general rather than fixating on certain dyes and preservatives. Skyrocketing obesity rates is just one part of a vicious cycle of health effects connected to super processed foods.

“We’re sicker than we’ve ever been because our food is poisoning us,” says Jerold Mande, former deputy undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He added that an overemphasis on individual additives ignores the more glaring and well-studied connection between cancer and obesity.

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