Are Skittles “Unfit For Human Consumption?”

Want to “taste the rainbow?” That bag of Skittles may be more than you bargained for. Those colorful, chewy candies with a sweet-tart flavor profile have prompted some consumers to take the candy maker to court over a potentially dangerous additive. A class-action lawsuit filed on July 14, 2022 against Skittles maker Mars, Inc. calls into question the additive titanium dioxide that is known to pose a health risk. The dangers of titanium dioxide are so well proven that Mars publicly declared it would phase out the ingredient, but here were are in 2024 and it continues to be listed on the candy’s label. Titanium dioxide is a whitening agent used in commercially processed food, as well as a UV-light filtering agent in cosmetics and personal care items like toothpaste and sunscreen. The problem is that it can pass through the digestive system and be absorbed into the bloodstream, allowing it to travel to places it doesn’t belong and damaging organs like the liver or kidneys. At high doses, titanium dioxide could potentially cause certain cancers. The current argument is that food grade titanium dioxide has not been proven to accumulate in the human body and poses little risk inherent with nanoparticles. So, if you want to remove titanium dioxide from your diet, you’re facing an uphill battle. That’s because food manufacturers aren't required to list it in the ingredients, opting instead for vague terms like "color added." Unprocessed, whole foods may be your best bet for steering clear of nanoparticles.