A lawsuit has been filed in the USA claiming that Skittles are "unfit for human consumption."
A Californian man has sued the makers of Skittles, Mars, claiming that a colouring agent used in their manufacture is unsafe.
The additive in question, Titanium Dioxide (E171), will be banned in the European Union from August of this year but remains a legal ingredient in both the UK and USA. E171 is not an ingredient used in Irish skittles at the time of writing.
Skittles contain the food additive titanium dioxide which can damage your DNA. The @US_FDA has done nothing about it in more than 50 years since it first approved its use in foods. #ToxicFreeFoodFDA pic.twitter.com/iNtBVQX4bm
— EWG (@ewg) September 14, 2021
According to the Environmental Working Group, E171 can damage human DNA and harm the immune system.
In 2021 The European Food Safety Authority concluded that "titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe as a food additive. A critical element in reaching this conclusion is that we could not exclude genotoxicity concerns after the consumption of titanium dioxide particles. After oral ingestion, the absorption of titanium dioxide particles is low, however, they can accumulate in the body.”
The assessment was conducted following a rigorous methodology and taking into consideration many thousands of studies that have become available since EFSA’s previous assessment in 2016, including new scientific evidence and data on nanoparticles.
Mars had announced in 2016 that it would withdraw the colouring agent from its food products in the USA across a five-year period, a pledge that has been flouted according to the claim.
The Californian lawsuit does not look for specific damages but alleges that Mars does not inform US customers of an additive that it says is "unfit for human consumption."