Skittles Lawsuit: Unraveling the Legal Battle

The most recent Skittles lawsuit has brought attention to the use of titanium dioxide as an ingredient in the popular candy. A California man filed a suit against the candy’s manufacturer, Mars, alleging that Skittles contains a “known toxin” that makes it “unfit for human consumption.” The ingredient in question, titanium dioxide, is commonly used as a whitening agent in various products, ranging from food to toothpaste and paper.

This legal challenge raises questions about the safety of titanium dioxide and its prevalence in the food industry. While some studies have suggested potential health risks associated with the consumption of titanium dioxide, there is no consensus in the scientific community regarding its overall safety. Despite this, the lawsuit highlights growing consumer concerns about the substances found in everyday products and the need for increased transparency from manufacturers.

As the Skittles lawsuit advances, it serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding the ingredients in the products we consume. The outcome of the suit could potentially have far-reaching implications for the food industry, leading to closer scrutiny of the use of common additives like titanium dioxide and ultimately influencing consumer choices.

Background of the Skittles Lawsuit

In July 2022, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Mars Inc., the manufacturer of Skittles, a popular candy brand. The plaintiff, Jenile Thames, a resident of San Leandro, California, claimed that Skittles contain heightened levels of titanium dioxide, making the candy “unfit for human consumption.”

Titanium dioxide is a common ingredient used in many consumer goods, including food items, toothpaste, and paper, to give them a brighter appearance. The lawsuit alleges that Mars Inc. has been aware of the health implications associated with titanium dioxide for years but continued to include it in the production of Skittles.

The case, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks to represent a class of consumers who purchased Skittles and were allegedly exposed to a toxic ingredien. As the lawsuit progresses, scrutiny over the use of titanium dioxide in food products and its potential impact on human health may increase.

While the legal battle continues, regulations surrounding the use of titanium dioxide have been changing. For instance, after August 7, 2022, a full ban on the ingredient was imposed. This development may have implications for Mars Inc. and other manufacturers using titanium dioxide in their products, prompting them to reconsider its usage and seek alternative ingredients.

Titanium Dioxide Concerns

Potential Health Effects

Titanium dioxide, a common ingredient in various products, has been a subject of concern due to its potential health effects. According to some studies, it has been associated with inflammation, genotoxicity, and even cancer. However, it is essential to note that these findings are not definitive and further research is needed to determine the exact risks associated with titanium dioxide exposure. The European Food Safety Authority has stated that the compound has no demonstrated adverse health effects when consumed at typical levels in food.

Role in Candy and Processed Foods

Titanium dioxide is a widely used food additive and is often found in candy, such as Skittles, and processed foods to provide a bright white color and improve their appearance. Other applications include as an opacifying agent and a texturing additive in cosmetics. However, concerns have been raised recently, such as in the Skittles lawsuit, alleging that the ingredient makes the products “unfit for human consumption.”

European Union Ban and Regulations

The European Union has taken a more cautious approach to the use of titanium dioxide in food products. In 2021, the EU banned the use of titanium dioxide (identified as E171) in foods, citing concerns over its potential genotoxicity and carcinogenic properties. Other countries, such as the United States and Canada, have not followed suit and continue to allow the use of titanium dioxide in foods under specific regulations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that titanium dioxide is safe for use in food, and its regulations limit concentrations of the compound in products.

It is clear that opinions on the safety of titanium dioxide vary, and more research is needed to understand its potential risks fully. It is essential to stay informed about the latest findings and make decisions about consuming products containing titanium dioxide based on the best available evidence.

FDA Regulations on Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a widely used food additive that has been included in the production of various products, such as Skittles. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specific regulations in place that determine the safe usage of titanium dioxide in food products.

The primary role of titanium dioxide in food items is its function as a color additive, contributing to the vibrant appearance of candies and other processed foods. The FDA’s regulations on titanium dioxide are aligned with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which governs the safe inclusion of color additives in foods. According to the FDA, titanium dioxide is generally permitted for safe use in food applications under specific guidelines and conditions, which include adherence to usage, purity, and labeling requirements.

In recent times, there have been questions raised over the safety and use of titanium dioxide, such as in the Skittles lawsuit. However, the FDA has maintained its stance on the safety of this food additive. The agency has reiterated that titanium dioxide can be safely used as a color additive in foods when it adheres to the stipulated specifications and conditions.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that the FDA continues to monitor the safe usage of food additives, including titanium dioxide, and modifies its regulations if new scientific evidence emerges warranting a change in guidance. Therefore, the FDA’s regulatory policies aim to ensure consumer safety and confidence in the integrity of food products.

Titanium Dioxide in Everyday Products

Titanium dioxide is an inorganic compound commonly used in various consumer products due to its properties as a whitening agent and as a UV filter. In this section, we will explore its use in cosmetics, sunscreen, paint, and plastics.


Titanium dioxide is frequently used in cosmetics as a pigment, offering a bright white, opaque color to products such as makeup foundation, eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick. Additionally, it can act as a UV filter in cosmetics that offer sun protection. Due to its versatility and safety, the FDA has approved titanium dioxide for use in cosmetic products.


One of the most prevalent uses of titanium dioxide is in sunscreen formulations. The compound’s ability to scatter and absorb ultraviolet (UV) light makes it effective in protecting the skin from harmful UV radiation, especially in products that have a physical, rather than chemical, sun protection. Titanium dioxide is often found alongside other UV filters, such as zinc oxide, in broad-spectrum sunscreens.

Paint and Plastics

Titanium dioxide has long been an essential ingredient in the paint and plastics industries. It serves as a pigment, providing opacity and improving the hiding power of paint and plastic products. In paint, titanium dioxide protects surfaces by reflecting sunlight and preventing the deterioration of materials beneath the coating. In plastics, it is often used to create a smooth, glossy surface and provide opacity, ensuring a consistent and opaque look.

Overall, titanium dioxide is a versatile and widely-used compound that can be found in many everyday items. Its applications range from cosmetics to sunscreens, paints, and even plastics, making it an integral component in the production of numerous consumer goods.

Other Candy Brands and Products Involved

Several popular candy brands and products have also been under scrutiny for their use of questionable ingredients, such as titanium dioxide. Among these candies are Black Forest Gummy Bears, a well-known brand of gummy bears, and Sour Patch Kids, fruity candies with a sour coating that many consumers enjoy. Both of these candies feature bright, attractive colors that may be achieved through the use of food additives like titanium dioxide.

Trolli Sour Gummies and Ring Pops are two other examples of popular candies containing titanium dioxide, according to Environmental Working Group. Trolli Sour Gummies are a type of sour, fruit-flavored gummy candy, while Ring Pops are fruit-flavored lollipop rings. The use of titanium dioxide in these products, as well as others, has raised concerns due to its potential health risks.

This issue is not limited to just candy products; titanium dioxide has been found in a variety of food items beyond the confectionery industry. As consumers become more aware of the potential dangers associated with certain food additives, it is increasingly important for companies to be transparent about the ingredients they use in their products.

Mars Wrigley’s Response to the Lawsuit

Mars Wrigley, the manufacturer of Skittles, has consistently maintained that their products meet all necessary quality and safety requirements. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, the company takes pride in producing high-quality candies for the market.

In response to the lawsuit, Mars Wrigley emphasized their commitment to transparency and customer satisfaction. According to the company, they regularly review their ingredients to ensure they adhere to the strictest food safety regulations. They also stated that they make decisions based on scientific research and regulatory guidelines.

Regarding the specific ingredient in question, titanium dioxide, Mars Wrigley clarified that it was used in compliance with the regulation and guidelines set by various food safety authorities around the world. The company assured customers that it would continue to prioritize safety and quality in all its products.

By addressing the concerns raised in the lawsuit, Mars Wrigley demonstrates its dedication to upholding its reputation in the market. The company remains confident and knowledgeable about its confectionery products while maintaining a neutral and clear tone in communicating with consumers about this matter.

Legal Proceedings

Northern District of California

In July 2022, a class-action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Mars Inc., the manufacturer of Skittles. The lawsuit claimed that Skittles contained a “known toxin” (titanium dioxide) that made the candy “unfit for human consumption.” This legal action raised concerns about the safety of the popular candy and Mars Corporation’s responsibility for the alleged harmful ingredient.

Class Action Lawsuit

The plaintiff, a California man, accused Mars Inc. of having “long known of the health risks” posed by titanium dioxide and alleged that the company failed to adequately warn consumers about its presence in Skittles. According to a report by Jonathan Stempel, the lawsuit sought class-action status, potentially involving many more consumers who purchased Skittles in the United States.

In response to the lawsuit, Mars Inc. denied any wrongdoing and stood by the safety of its products. The company emphasized its commitment to transparency and the strict adherence to food safety regulations. However, by November 2022, the lawsuit was dismissed in the federal court. The reasons for the dismissal and the potential implications for Mars Corporation remain unclear.

Although the lawsuit may have come to an end, its impact on public perception and awareness of ingredients like titanium dioxide in popular consumer products like Skittles continues to be a topic of interest for many.

Consumers and Safety Precautions

Skittles, a popular candy manufactured by Mars, has recently been under scrutiny due to a class-action lawsuit that alleges the candy is unsafe for consumption. The suit focuses on the inclusion of titanium dioxide in Skittles, claiming that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers about potential health risks associated with the ingredient.

Safety concerns around titanium dioxide have led consumers to question the protection and transparency provided by food manufacturers, especially when it comes to products aimed at kids. Accurate labeling and clear ingredient lists are crucial to ensure parents can make informed decisions when choosing snacks for their children.

In response to the growing concerns, some companies have already begun to phase out the use of titanium dioxide in their products. The decision to remove titanium dioxide from the manufacturing process demonstrates a commitment to consumer safety and protection. Although titanium dioxide is currently legal to use as a food additive in the United States, the increasing number of questions raised about its safety may lead to reconsideration of its status.

Consumer safety precautions should always be a priority for food manufacturers. In order to protect consumers, especially vulnerable groups like children, companies must maintain high standards of quality control and ensure that their products are accurately labeled, highlighting any potential allergens or controversial ingredients.

It is essential that consumers remain vigilant and educated about the ingredients found in the foods they purchase. By staying informed and reading product labels carefully, they can make knowledgeable decisions and take necessary steps to protect themselves and their families from potentially harmful substances.

Similar Lawsuits and Issues

There have been several other lawsuits related to food and ingredient concerns in the past. One such case involved Beyond Meat, wherein the company faced a lawsuit over alleged misrepresentation of its products as healthier alternatives to traditional meat. The lawsuit claimed that the plant-based meat company had an excess of synthetic ingredients, raising questions about its natural and healthy positioning.

Another notable lawsuit was against Walmart and its Great Value ice cream. The lawsuit claimed that the ice cream product was falsely labeled as containing real vanilla when it actually contained artificial flavors. This led to consumers questioning the authenticity and quality of the product.

In a separate case, Chips Ahoy! cookies faced a lawsuit over allegedly deceptive labeling. The lawsuit claimed that the cookies contained artificial flavors, despite their packaging suggesting that they were made using real chocolate chips. The credibility of the brand and its ingredients once again became a topic of discussion among consumers.

Candy makers have also come under legal scrutiny for their use of ingredients and labeling practices. For example, the parent company of Skittles, Mars Inc., was hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that Skittles contain titanium dioxide, a known toxin that has been banned in several countries. This lawsuit raised concerns about consumer safety and the transparency of food companies.

In response to such lawsuits and consumer concerns, some companies have pledged to remove or replace controversial ingredients in their products. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to providing safe and transparent products for consumers.

It is worth noting that the inclusion of certain ingredients in food products can potentially damage DNA and pose health risks. Therefore, the growing number of lawsuits and consumer concerns highlight the need for increased transparency and stricter regulation of ingredients in our food.

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