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But the class-action lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of San Leandro resident Jenile Thames and others who bought the candy, claims the company’s failure to warn consumers about the potential dangers of titanium dioxide. constitutes fraud of omissions as well as other violations of California law.
Mars announced in 2016 that it planned to remove artificial color from its products over the next five years, and later clarified that titanium dioxide was among the dyes it would phase out. “The defendant has broken his own promise to consumers,” the lawsuit claims. “More than six years later, the defendant continues to sell the products with [titanium dioxide] ignorant of affordable consumers who buy the products. “
The European Commission’s ban on titanium dioxide as a food additive in the EU will take effect in August. European regulators cited fears that an accumulation of titanium dioxide particles in a person’s body could cause genotoxicity, the ability of a substance to damage DNA, and potentially cause cancer. However, the United Kingdom did not reach the same conclusion and still allows it.
The California Archives, which seeks unspecified compensation, claims that Mars did not inform consumers about the presence of the dye, which it describes as “unfit for human consumption.”
“Applied chairs on the ingredient list that are given with little pressure on the back of the products, and the reading of this is made even more challenging due to the lack of contrast in color between the font and the packaging,” it claims.
The lawsuit alleges that other candy brands, including Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish and Nerds, are as colorful as Skittles – but do not rely on titanium dioxide.