Despite some viral social media posts claiming a new California law will ban Skittles candy in 2027, there’s nothing in the law—which will ban certain food additives deemed dangerous by some studies—that will keep the popular candy off shelves.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed a bill into law Saturday banning four chemicals—red dye No. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil and propylparaben—which are commonly used in snacks like Peeps, Brach’s candy corn and Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies.
The bill has sometimes misleadingly been called a “Skittles ban” because a previous version of the bill would have banned titanium dioxide, a chemical found in Skittles candy.
Though the law no longer mentions titanium dioxide, the “Skittles ban” moniker stuck, and some viral social media posts are falsely claiming California will ban Skittles candy by 2027.
Skittles will remain unaffected by the ban, and even if titanium dioxide were still named in the law, companies have until 2027 to reformulate products to exclude the banned chemicals.
The European Commission banned the use of titanium dioxide last year—but Skittles can still be found on shelves in Europe because the candies sold in these countries reportedly exclude the banned chemical.
Newsom reportedly criticized the “Skittles ban” nickname, pointing out that other countries that have banned titanium dioxide still sell Skittles.
Though the law will not ban Skittles, claims California has outlawed the candy are running rampant on social media. A post on X from Daily Loud, a pop culture updates account with 2.5 million followers, falsely stated “California will officially ban Skittles and other candies from the state starting 2027.” The misinformed post was liked more than 68,000 times and viewed more than 15 million times. Actor and television host Mario Lopez reposted a false claim that the state will ban Skittles, stating: “Crime is through the roof, worst drug epidemic ever & homelessness at an all time high in CA… Let’s focus on Skittles.” A YouTube video by right-wing personality The Quartering, viewed 50,000 times, falsely stated Skittles was banned by California’s “woke leaders.”
“There’s a zero percent chance this is actually going to result in a ban of Skittles,” California state Rep. Jesse Gabriel, who introduced the bill, said. “All we want the companies to do is switch their recipes in the same way that they’ve done in Europe, and Canada and the U.K. and Brazil and other countries that have banned these chemicals.”
Some studies have linked red dye No. 3 to thyroid cancer in animals, though no studies have linked the chemical to cancer in humans. The Food and Drug Administration banned the chemical in 1990 for cosmetic uses based on the link to cancer in animals, but still permitted it in food products. Brominated vegetable oil has been found to harm skin membranes and, in large quantities, has been linked to memory loss. Some studies have suggested propylparaben can interfere with fertility, and one study found it decreased sperm count in rats, though some recent research did not find a link between fertility issues in rats and propylparaben. Some research has found potassium bromate can have carcinogenic effects in animals. The European Food Safety Authority said in 2022 titanium dioxide is “possibly carcinogenic,” but some researchers have disputed this and called for further research.