People love Skittles, whether you’re football star Marshawn Lynch and have your own pack or you’re excited about the lime flavor that they brought back last year. However, the multi-flavored candy snacks are facing legal consequences for using the toxic chemical titanium dioxide (TiO2) as part of their food coloring.
This lawsuit was filed Thursday in the Northern District of California and is holding Mars Inc., Skittles’ parent company, accountable for failing to comply with the state’s consumer protection laws. According to a Reuters report, the candy company vowed to gradually eliminate TiO2 from its products in 2016 as part of an initiative to remove artificial food coloring over the next five years.
Plaintiff Jenile Thames thought the toxin removal was sweet news, but he claims he purchased Skittles from a local gas station earlier this year and found that they still contained TiO2. He believes Mars Inc. has not properly warned consumers of the adverse effects of chemical, which is used in everything from adhesives to plastics.
In addition, the European Union will ban the chemical in the next month, according to the lawsuit, after safety regulators found it could cause changes in DNA and organ damage. Thames stated he would not have bought the pack of candy if he knew the chemical was still being used.
“Instead, Defendant relies on the ingredient list which is provided in minuscule print on the back of the Products,” states the lawsuit, “the reading of which is made even more challenging by the lack of contrast in color between the font and packaging, as set out below in a manner in which consumers would normally view the product in the store.”
Thames is seeking unspecified damages for violation on consumer protection laws and fraud. Mars Inc. has not yet commented on the lawsuit.