- The color dye additive has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in mice
- After Easter 2024, Just Born will no longer use red dye No. 3 in its products
- READ MORE: ‘Skittles ban’ prompts calls for US to outlaw cancer-causing food
The iconic marshmallow PEEP could soon look very different after its manufacturer announced it would strip a harmful dye that gives the candy its striking color.
Pennsylvania-based Just Born became the first company to announce changes to its ingredient list after California passed a law banning several potentially carcinogenic ingredients, including a food dye additive.
After Easter 2024, Just Born will no longer use red dye No. 3 in any of its products, the company said in a statement.
In a study evaluating the health impacts of red dye No. 3, research has shown lab rats exposed to high doses of the additive over a long period of time developed thyroid cancer.
Could PEEPS lose their famous color?
Around 12,000 products sold in California use the newly banned ingredients, according to the Environmental Working Group
In 1990, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the use of the dye in cosmetics based in part off of that research.
However, the ingredient is still allowed to be used in foods.
In a statement provided to Consumer Reports, Just Born said: ‘For Easter 2024, of all our PEEPS offerings, two colors will contain Red #3 – Pink and Lavender. All Just Born products, including Pink and Lavender PEEPS, comply with FDA guidelines and use only FD&C certified color.
‘You will begin to see the updated ingredient list on store shelves in the coming months.’
Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, said: ‘We’ve known for years that Red Dye 3 and the other toxic chemicals banned under California’s landmark pose serious risks to our health.
‘The widespread use of Red Dye #3 is particularly concerning since it is found in many products marketed to children who are especially at risk of developing health problems from exposure.
‘We applaud Just Born for removing Red Dye #3 from PEEPS before the California law goes into effect in 2027 and urge other companies to do the same.’
California Gov Gavin Newsom signed the so-called ‘Skittles ban’ last week, which outlaws four popular additives that have been linked to cancer, disease and mood disorders.
The bill gives food companies three years to strip the ingredients from their products or face fines of up to $10,000.
The four newly banned additives are: brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye No.3.
PEEPS is the first product to announce it will do away with one of the banned ingredients prior to the state’s 2027 deadline, but it is just one of approximately 12,000 products sold in California that uses at least one of the newly banned ingredients.