Everyone loves candy. Whether it is fruity, chocolatey, minty, or something else, anyone can enjoy it. But with that is the silent knowledge that too much can lead to horrible consequences. Sugar and artificial candies have long been thought of as special treats with the added risks they pose. Yet, a recent lawsuit has put to question if we should even be risking eating these delicious treats. The class-action lawsuit against Skittles and their claimed unsuitability of them for eating has spawned fear and ignorance. But is this an issue that you have to worry about? Let’s find out.
Jenile Thames in California proposed this class-action lawsuit based upon the claim that Skittles are unsuitable for consumption due to titanium dioxide present within them. It seeks out nonspecific damages for fraud and violating California consumer protection laws. Considering that this lawsuit made its way into the press recently, the details and conditions of it are sure to come at a later date.
This lawsuit comes after 2016, when Mars Inc, the company that produces Skittles, M&Ms, and Mars bars, pledged to cut down on their titanium dioxide usage, according to the Center for Food Safety. The lawsuit implies that the unfaithfulness of Mars Inc to the pledge is part of the reason why it sprung up in the first place.
The most important thing to note is the uncertainty surrounding this entire lawsuit. A class action lawsuit represents the opinions of a large number of people. It does not have to be true or false, but there has to be support for it. Still, these cases, in particular, rarely make their way to trial. Clients usually settle it with the companies. Of whom are more than happy not to let any issues get deeper into the press. Still, this lawsuit has perplexed many people who assumed that the candy they gave their children had been safe all along.
Titanium dioxide, or E171 as it is known in food, is a chemical compound. Often added for coloring as it helps food products become more white and opaque. That is also why the white paint color is called ‘Titanium white’. Titanium dioxide is in many products that we use and consume daily. Sunscreen, although not the vegan type, toothpaste, cheese, a multitude of candies, vitamin supplements, and more. Recent concerns have come out about titanium dioxide leading to Genotoxicity. Genotoxicity is when a chemical damages or changes genetic information or DNA. There are possibilities that this leads to cancer or other horrible effects.
Regardless, it is not as though the Federal Food and Drug Administration in the United States has nothing to say on this. As long as the amount of titanium dioxide does not exceed 1% of the total weight of the product, it is safe for consumption. Recently, as shown by the lawsuit and the European Commission’s ban on titanium dioxide as a food additive in the European Union, new speculation about the impacts of this compound has arisen. While it is suspected that there are health impacts, there are not enough studies that look at specifics. Especially not those that consider the long-term effects of the compound.
Something also to consider is why Mars Inc is being sued over Skittles only. Various candies under their production contain titanium dioxide. For the lawsuit to target only one is quite interesting. But, there may be an answer to it. The amount of compound might be the greatest in Skittles. Or it is popular enough that everyone knows what the candy is. At the same time, something else like M&M might be harder to prove. That candy does not rely on the same whitening as Skittles, which uses titanium dioxide to achieve its startling colors.
The existence of this lawsuit has allowed a lot more people to question Skittles and other products they consume. It did not take going to trial for this one drop in the water to start creating ripples. That is one of the interesting things about lawsuits. Especially with class action ones, the time frame can be anywhere from settled in a few months to years. Purely because it exists, suspicion has grown.
Ultimately, this is only a big concern for processed foods. When it comes to the recent growth in trends for healthy, organic foods, titanium dioxide does not exist. Still, the possible danger of titanium dioxide has now been brought to the attention of people who do not want to live in a world where they will be eating the same compound that goes into the paint.
So, what do you think? You may want to stop eating Skittles. Or, maybe you do not care about the news and will happily keep snacking. The choice is yours.