IACM Opposes California SB504

IACM is part of a coalition effort against California SB504, which submitted this opposition letter to the Chair of the California Health Committee last week. This bill, if passed, would create many problems while not offering any solutions to consumers. 

California State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D) has introduced SB504, entitled Protecting Californians from Synthetic Food Dyes Act, that would require a warning label for all food products for retail sale in the State that contain “synthetic dyes.” A label would be required on the package or on display shelf for bulk foods, and included on a menu or menu board of a restaurant serving a dish including synthetic food dyes.

Any claims linking synthetic colors with possible negative health or behavior effects are not based on sufficient scientific evidence to justify blanket changes to the rules governing how manufacturers can incorporate and label these colors in food and beverage products. Additionally, in the U.S., every color is listed by name, so the U.S. already requires that colors are labeled in such a way as to allow consumers to make informed choices at the grocery store.

A warning label for food products in the state of California containing synthetic colors is not only scientifically unwarranted, but would also be confusing and unhelpful to consumers, while cost prohibitive for food manufacturers wishing to do business in the state. The claim of benefits to Californian’s is unfounded and unsubstantiated. At best Californians would suffer higher food costs while at worst, Californians would lose the choice to buy some colored food products altogether.

IACM feels strongly that governments, including the state of California, should make regulatory decisions based on the weight of scientific evidence. Warning statements for synthetic colors are not used in geographies that consider the weight of scientific evidence in the development of policy, such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China or Japan, for these geographies understand the implications and unintended consequences resulting from such a decision.

Join IACM and others in letting the California legislature know that this bill ignores the weight of scientific evidence and is bad for consumer choice!