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SNACK ATTACK: Food like Hot Cheetos could be banned in California public schools

AB2316 aims to ban six synthetic food dyes and titanium dioxide
Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 20, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Assembly Bill 2316 could soon ban six synthetic food dyes found in snacks like Hot Cheetos and Doritos from California public schools.

  • Video shows popular snacks like Hot Cheetos and Doritos at a local gas station
  • Frankie Gonzalez, local resident, says he believes America falls behind other countries when it comes to food safety and would like to see bans on forever chemicals in foods.

You may be a fan of chips like Flaming Hot Cheetos or Nacho Cheese Doritos, but these snacks could soon be banned in California schools.
Picking out your favorite chips or drink soon may not be possible on public school campuses.

“Hot Cheetos are great,” Frankie Gonzalez, a Bakersfield native, said.

California assemblyman Jesse Gabriel introduced Assembly Bill 2316 to ban titanium dioxide and these six synthetic food dyes.

  • Red 40
  • Yellow 5
  • Yellow 6
  • Blue 1
  • Blue 2
  • Green 3

These dyes can be found in chips like Hot Cheetos and Doritos, cereal like Fruity Pebbles, and other snacks that Gabriel says target children.
“Hot Cheetos are delicious," he said. "I understand that, but the idea here is the science and the research says that those chemicals are particularly harmful to young people and that they can really make behavior issues much more significant in the classroom.”

While the Food and Drug Administration allows the use of these dyes, the California Environmental Protect Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment released a report in April 2021, that found the consumption of synthetic food dyes can result in hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral problems in some children.

That’s why Gabriel wants to ban them.

“Some of these chemicals are outright banned in other countries, so not even for young people but people of any age are not allowed to eat them.”

Frankie Gonzalez says he believes America falls behind other countries when it comes to food safety and would like to see bans on forever chemicals in foods.

“I do think it’s important to be mindful of everybody else, especially within the school system and for younger children who are probably going to be inclined to grab whatever snack is available,” Gonzalez said.

In a statement to 23ABC, Erin Brisco with the Kern High School District said in part quote, "Should this bill pass, it would primarily be the responsibility of the food manufacturers to ensure compliance with the law. We would collaborate closely with food suppliers and manufacturers to verify that all items included in our school meal program comply with the newly enacted legislation.”

Gabriel adds since California supplies 3 million free lunches and 1.5 million free breakfasts, he thinks it is the state’s responsibility to regulate these ingredients.

“What we’re hoping is that the folks who manufacture these products are going to change that one ingredient to their recipe,” he said.

While Gonzalez says he loves snacks like hot Cheetos, he hopes to see a change in the way some of these products are produced.

“I’d like to see them plan a new way to color them, but yeah, it’s gonna kind of be unfortunate but hopefully they can find their way around it.”

You can read the full bill and track its progress here.

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