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17 Jul, 2022 14:34

Mars sued over toxin in world-famous candy

Suitor claims Skittles contain known toxin that Mars had pledged to phase out six years ago
Mars sued over toxin in world-famous candy

US food giant Mars has been challenged by a class action lawsuit alleging that the company’s iconic Skittles candies are “unfit for human consumption” because they contain a “known toxin” that the company had pledged to remove back in 2016.

In a proposed class action filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday, Jenile Thames said that Skittles were unsafe for consumers due to “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide, a food additive.

According to the lawsuit, titanium dioxide will be banned in the EU next month after the bloc’s food-safety regulator deemed it unsafe due to its ability to change DNA.

The action also claims that the additive, which is used in paint, adhesives, plastics and roofing materials, can cause DNA, brain and organ damage, as well as lesions in the liver and kidneys.

“A reasonable consumer would expect that [Skittles] can be safely purchased and consumed as marketed and sold,” the complaint said. “However, the products are not safe.”

In 2016, Mars publicly shared its intention to phase out titanium dioxide from its products in the coming years. On Saturday, the company said that the use of titanium dioxide in its products complies with FDA regulations, declining to comment on pending litigation.

The European Food Safety Authority announced that titanium dioxide “can no longer be considered safe as a food additive” in May 2021. In the US, the additive remains legal with the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulation allowing its use for “coloring foods generally.” At the same time, the FDA regulates that the quantity of titanium dioxide must not exceed 1% of the food’s weight.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for fraud and violations of California consumer protection laws.

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