OAKLAND, Calif. (WTVO) — A new lawsuit, filed by a consumer in California, claims Skittles are unsafe to eat because they contain a chemical the company had pledged to remove.
According to the class action lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday, Jenile Thames has accused Mars, Inc. of endangering Skittles consumers by including “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide, or TiO2, in the rainbow-colored candy, according to Reuters.
The European Union is phasing out the use of titanium dioxide with a full ban going into place on Aug. 7, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The restriction went into effect after food safety regulators determined it had the ability to alter DNA, the lawsuit says.
“A reasonable consumer would expect that (Skittles) can be safely purchased and consumed as marketed and sold,” the complaint said. “However, the products are not safe.”
TiO2 has not been banned in the United States, but federal guidelines restrict the quantity to 1% by weight of the food.
The California lawsuit alleges the sale of the candy violates the state’s consumer protection laws. It also claims the chemical is used in paint, adhesives, plastics and other materials and can cause damage to DNA, the brain and other organs.
Mars Inc. said it used the chemical as a colorant in 2016 and said it would be removing artificial colors over the next five years.
The lawsuit claims that other brightly colored candies aren’t made with titanium dioxide, according to Bloomberg.
Mars had not replied to requests for comment from Nexstar and Reuters as of publishing time.