Due to the presence of a “known poison,” according to a group of consumers who are suing candy company Mars, Skittles are “unfit” to ingest.
Jenile Thames, a San Leandro resident, filed a class action complaint on Thursday in Oakland, California, alleging that Skittles are dangerous for consumers because they contain “heightened quantities” of titanium dioxide.
Attorneys for San Leandro resident Jenile Thames claimed in a class-action lawsuit that was filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that Skittles are dangerous for consumers because they contain “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide, also known as TiO2, which is a food additive.
A food safety regulator in the European Union declared titanium dioxide dangerous due to its “genotoxicity,” or capacity to alter DNA, according to the complaint, which also claimed that titanium dioxide will be prohibited there starting next month.
To create the rainbow of synthetic hues in Skittles, Mars Inc. employs titanium dioxide. The complaint claims that despite the candy manufacturer’s announcement in a news release in October 2016 that it would eventually stop using titanium dioxide in its goods, titanium dioxide is still present in items like Skittles today.
The complaint claims that titanium dioxide, which is used in paint, adhesives, plastics, and roofing materials, can harm DNA, the brain, and other organs, as well as induce liver and kidney lesions.
The lawsuit said that “a reasonable consumer would assume that [Skittles] may be purchased and consumed safely as promoted and supplied.” The items, however, are not secure.
As of May 2021, titanium dioxide “can no longer be deemed safe as a food ingredient,” according to the European Food Safety Authority. The food ingredient is still permitted in the US, though.
The FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations states that “the color additive titanium dioxide may be used for generally coloring meals in a safe manner.” However, according to FDA regulations, the amount of titanium dioxide cannot be more than 1% of the weight of the product.
Unspecified damages are sought in the action for consumer protection legislation breaches and fraud.
The Thames, a resident of San Leandro, California, said that he purchased Skittles at a nearby QuikStop in April and that, had he known, he would not have done so.
The Thames asserts that reading the label would not have been helpful because it is difficult to understand the contents on Skittles’ bright-red packaging.