As of May 2021, titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe as a food additive, according to the European Food Safety Authority. Now, a lawsuit claims that skittles are poisonous and unsafe for human consumption due to presence of this very chemical.
A civil case has been brought against Skittles on the grounds that the candies are harmful to consume because they include a toxin that the manufacturer promised to eliminate six years ago.
In a proposed class action lawsuit submitted on Thursday, Jenile Thames claimed that Mars was utilizing “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2, a substance utilized as a food additive.
Thames, a resident of San Leandro, California, bought an Original Skittles product in April, but the lawsuit claims that if he had known “the true facts” about the product’s ingredients, he would not have done so.
The colors of Skittles are enhanced by the addition of titanium dioxide. The lawsuit (read below) submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California states, “Significantly, Defendant need not rely on the use of TiO2 to achieve this result.”
“A reasonable consumer would expect that [Skittles] can be safely purchased and consumed as marketed and sold. However, the products are not safe,” attorneys wrote.
Unspecified damages are sought in the action for consumer protection legislation violations and fraud.
According to the lawsuit, titanium dioxide will be prohibited throughout the European Union starting in August. The chemical compound was banned after it was determined to be harmful due to “genotoxicity,” or the capacity to alter DNA, by a food safety regulator there.
As of May 2021, titanium dioxide “can no longer be considered safe as a food additive,” according to the European Food Safety Authority. The authority added, “After oral ingestion, the absorption of titanium dioxide particles is low, however they can accumulate in the body,” saying it “could not exclude genotoxicity concerns after consumption of titanium dioxide particles.”
Consumers of Mars’s products “are at heightened risk of a host of health effects for which they were unaware stemming from genotoxicity—the ability of a chemical substance to change DNA,” according to the Thames lawsuit.
A representative for Mars said in a statement to media outlets that the firm does not comment on litigation that is currently underway but that the usage of titanium dioxide by Mars complies with rules set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to Thames’ attorneys, Mars had publicly announced in February 2016 that it will gradually remove artificial colors from its food products over the ensuing five years.
Mars “has long known of the health problems posed by TiO2,” according to the lawsuit.
The Center for Food Safety cited an email from Mars that stated that titanium dioxide was one of the artificial colors being eliminated in October 2016.
The purpose of removing titanium dioxide is “simple,” according to the lawsuit.
“TiO2—which is used in paints, coatings, adhesives, plastics, printing inks, and roofing materials—has demonstrated an ability to pass through biological membranes, circulate through the body, and enter cells,” the complaint reads.
“Research shows that the effects are serious, including DNA and chromosomal damage, organ damage, inflammation, brain damage, genital malformations, lesions in the liver and kidneys, and cell neurosis.”
Read the document below: