Lawsuit Claims Skittles Unfit for Human Consumption | Consumer Seeks Damages For Fraud

Lawsuit Claims Skittles Unfit for Human Consumption | Consumer Seeks Damages For Fraud

The colorful, fruit-flavored candy is being sued for its use of titanium dioxide.

A lawsuit has been filed in California by a consumer against Mars, Incorporated claiming that Skittles “are unfit for human consumption.” Mars Inc. is the maker of the colorful, fruit-flavored candy Skittles, as well as many other popular candy brands. NBC reports that the consumer in the lawsuit claims that the candy contains “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide (TiO2). A company spokesperson responded in a statement to TODAY, “While we do not comment on pending litigation, our use of titanium dioxide complies with FDA regulations.” According to the Food and Drug Administration's Code of Federal Regulations, "The color additive titanium dioxide may be safely used for coloring foods generally," but there are several restrictions including the quantity of titanium dioxide not exceeding 1 percent of the food's weight, reports USA Today.



Comic Book reports that the suit claims many countries in Europe have banned the substance. "A reasonable consumer would expect that [Skittles] can be safely purchased and consumed as marketed and sold," the lawsuit read. "However, the products are not safe." It also claims that those who consume Skittles "are at heightened risk of a host of health effects for which they were unaware stemming from genotoxicity — the ability of a chemical substance to change DNA." It also mentions that TiO2 is also used in paints, coatings, adhesives, plastics, inks and roofing materials and has "demonstrated an ability to pass through biological membranes, circulate through the body and enter cells."



Candy makers have generally used TiO2 as a pigment to help whiten candy but the company in question claimed to phase out the use of the substance in 2016.  “We are pleased to see that MARS has taken a positive step toward eliminating toxic, unnecessary nanomaterials from its line of food products. We urge the company to speed up the removal of these additives, especially given the grave health concerns associated with titanium dioxide and other nanoparticles. Studies have shown that the human health risks associated with ingesting nanoparticles of many common food additives far outweigh any utility for producers. There are plenty of non-toxic alternatives available and we urge MARS and others to commit to not using any engineered nanomaterials in human and animal food products." the Center for Food Safety said of Mars' announcement in 2016.



In 2019, France banned the toxin and in May of last year the European Food Safety Authority determined that TiO2 “could not be considered safe for consumption,” prompting the European Commission’s announcement that it would “adopt a ban on the use of TiO2 as a food additive.” The lawsuit claims in the US the company still uses the substance and has not told consumers of the "implications of consuming the toxin.” The consumer is seeking unspecified damages for fraud and violations of California consumer protection laws.









Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Tamar Dundua