Skittles is facing a lawsuit over its alleged use of a toxic chemical.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in the Northern District of California alleges Skittles’ parent company, Mars Inc., has violated the state’s consumer protection laws by failing to remove titanium dioxide (TiO2) from the candy. Reuters reports the company announced it would phase out TiO2 coloring back in 2016, pledging to remove the chemical and other artificial coloring over the next five years; however, plaintiff Jenile Thames claims he purchased Skittles from a California gas station earlier this year, and found the candy still contained TiO2.
According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, Thames insists he wouldn’t have bought the candy had he know the toxin was still being used. TiO2 is reportedly used in everything from roofing materials and adhesives to paint and plastics. The complaint states the chemical will be banned in the European Union sometime next month, after safety regulators determined it could change DNA and result in organ damage.
Thames argues Mars Inc. has failed to inform consumers about the dangers of consuming the toxin.
Per the lawsuit: “Instead, Defendant relies on the ingredient list which is provided in minuscule print on the back of the Products, 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.”
The plaintiff is reportedly seeking unspecified damages for fraud and violations of consumer protection laws. Mars Inc. has not publicly commented on the suit.