Sue the Rainbow
maybe Skittles should be outlawed
Hey Broiler Heads, weird week huh? Gas prices are finally falling, the planet is so hot that everything’s on fire everywhere and we can’t pass environmental legislation because a geriatric coal baron said no. OH YEAH and here in California we’re beefing with Skittles.
Yeah, that’s right, the rainbow is full of fake food coloring that may or may not be terrible for us. Real quick, let’s get a glance at the weird world of artificial food coloring, specifically titanium dioxide. Artificial dyes derived from petroleum are in thousands of food items many of us buy every single day like breakfast cereals, candy, and juice. Titanium dioxide, or TiO2, is one of these food additives used to color and extend the life of food. Do those crazy colors in your favorite sweets seem too good to be true? Yuuuup, you can almost taste the genotoxicity. The European Union determined TiO2 is a possible carcinogen based on countless scientific studies and not safe for consumption despite its wide availability. Companies that use it in their products were forced to replace the ingredient or no longer sell their stuff in Europe. Not only THAT but foods sold that contained other artificial dyes were required to have warnings that they could be harmful to children. Ya know, like we eventually did to cigarette companies.
Unsurprisingly, the EU is way ahead of us when it comes to regulating harmful artificial ingredients in the food supply. Way back in 2016, Mars released a statement saying they’d stop using artificial food coloring in response to public outcry after research linked Yellow 5 and Red 40 to behavioral problems in kids. Of course, Mars hasn’t changed a goddamn thing since their statement 5 years ago so this lawsuit is shining a spotlight on how they’ve fixed this overseas but are dragging ass here. Hell, even Petco lists titanium dioxide as one of the artificial colorings that don’t meet its nutritional standards. You know, for dogs and cats. So what the actual fuck are we doing here?
“The US often waits until the harm is done and the EU tries to prevent it to a certain extent It often seems the U.S. favors market over protection.”
Well for one, science takes time. Human side effects of artificial food additives is a field that’s only been studied closely for the last 40 years or so. Unfortunately, lots of research in the food space is funded by the very people who benefit from its lack of strong oversight. The FDA has long had a “rotating door problem” between itself and the pharmaceutical industry. Why bother regulating possible harmful food additives when we can always just sell a treatment for whatever illness arises? Shit, even our doctors are slow to see the connection between what we put into our body as fuel and the overall condition of our health. We in the US are still very much on our own when it comes to making sure the food we eat is safe for our bodies. So until our government starts better regulating our food system or these lawsuits bring some change, remember the words of senior scientist Lisa Lefferts at the Center for Science in Public Interest, “Mars does not deserve the public’s trust.” And read your fucking labels. If it’s full of fake shit and artificial dyes, it’s not for you, k?
Tomorrow paid supporters are getting the second recipe on our Summer Jam series : Peach Pepper Jam. If you’re not a supporter yet, easy way to fix that. You’ll get access to our summer jam recipes and entire back catalog of Broiler Room exclusives.
Stay cool out there y’all. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Matt + Michelle