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Illinois-based food-science organization weighs in on proposed food additives bill

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(The Center Square) – A Chicago-based nonprofit food-science organization is criticized proposed legislation that would ban certain food additives in Illinois.

The Illinois Food Safety Act calls for prohibiting the use of certain additives to food, including red dye #3 and titanium dioxide, which the sponsors say are linked to serious health problems.

“I want Illinoisans to be more confident when grocery shopping that they are not purchasing products that are laced with ingredients classified as toxic and harmful for human consumption,” the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Willie Preston, D-Chicago, said.

Bryan Hitchcock, chief science and technology officer with the Institute of Food Technologists, said if adopted, the law will be an expensive endeavor for food companies.

“Compliance is going to be very costly, including researching alternative ingredients, developing and testing alternative products, navigating higher ingredient costs, designing new labels and setting up new supply chains,” Hitchcock told The Center Square.

Last fall, California enacted a law that banned four additives. That law takes effect in 2027.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association has already gone on record against Illinois’ proposed measure, saying it would set a dangerous precedent and would create a patchwork of regulations for food manufacturing. Hitchcock agrees.

“The inconsistencies between Illinois and other states enacting legislation that directly conflicts with federal regulations reinforces the critical need for science and technology in government,” Hitchcock said.

Hitchcock adds that some businesses may consider what products they produce and distribute to Illinois, or they may opt to leave the state entirely depending on their business plans and priorities.

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