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Illinois set to mandate a strict food additive ban

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(The Center Square) – Some Illinois lawmakers want to supersede the federal government when it comes to banning food additives.

A measure moving through Springfield would ban several additives, including brominated vegetable oil and red dye number 3. California recently passed a similar ban, but if enacted, Illinois would have one of the strictest food additive bans in the country under Illinois Senate Bill 2637.

“It is time we protect the health of Illinoisans, Illinois children and families by establishing new safety guidelines for specific chemical ingredients,” said state Sen. Willie Preston, D-Chicago, during a news conference Wednesday in Springfield.

Preston has said he intended to add titanium dioxide to the ban, which can be found in candy and coffee creamers, and the FDA currently considers safe for consumption. A move to ban the additive in California failed.

In response to the state legislative proposals to ban certain FDA-approved food additives, the National Confectioners Association said states shouldn’t get ahead of the federal government.

“It’s time to stop pretending that magazine publishers and state legislators have the scientific expertise and qualifications to make these very important determinations. The FDA needs to flex its authority as the rightful national regulatory decision maker and leader in food safety. States usurping FDA’s authority does nothing but create a patchwork of inconsistent requirements that increase food costs, create confusion around food safety, and erode consumer confidence,” the group said in a statement.

James Coughlin, food toxicology expert with the Institute of Food Technologists, said there should be a uniform set of rules for the entire country.

“This patchwork of several states having their own banned additives on a list make it very difficult for food manufacturers to sell things in interstate commerce,” said Coughlin.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association has gone on record against the proposed measure, saying it would set a “dangerous precedent.”

An amendment to SB2637 was approved by the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee Wednesday.

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