Taste the toxin? Skittles sued for allegedly having ‘heightened levels’ of titanium dioxide

The chemical is also used in plastic and paints, court documents say

A closeup of a bowl of Skittles. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) (Otto Greule Jr, 2011 Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – A California man is suing Mars, Inc., claiming Skittles are “unfit for human consumption” due to one questionable ingredient.

Jenile Thames, the consumer, filed the lawsuit in Oakland Thursday, according to TODAY.

Court documents claim the candy contains “heightened levels” of titanium dioxide, or TiO2. Though, Mars, Inc. said it is well aware of the chemical but says it follows the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines.

In a statement to TODAY, a company spokesperson said, “While we do not comment on pending litigation, our use of titanium dioxide complies with FDA regulations.

The lawsuit states that the company knew of the health problems the chemical poses and tried to phase it out of the candy’s ingredients in Feb. 2016. However, the company has failed to do so.

The toxin was banned in France after the European Food Safety Authority deemed it unsafe for consumers, according to TODAY.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the company is still using TiO2 and has not informed customers of possible implications, the lawsuit alleges.

Court documents say consumers “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.”

TiO2 can allegedly be found in non-consumption items, such as paints, coatings, adhesives, plastics, printing inks, and roofing materials.

Thames said in the court documents that he wouldn’t have purchases the Skittles if he had known about the toxin.

He also stated the ingredients on the Skittles packaging is too difficult to read.

Thames is seeking unspecified damages for fraud and violations of California consumer protection laws.

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About the Author:

Victoria Lopez is a Digital Journalist at KSAT. Before joining the team in July 2022, she worked as a Digital Reporter at CBS 4 Rio Grande Valley and Local 23 News. Victoria graduated with a degree in Mass Communications — Public Relations from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.