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Morgan Freeman, Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Doctors, and Teachers Join in Support of California School Food Safety Act

Distinguished Leaders, California Medical Association (CMA), and California Federation of Teachers (CFT) Join 70+ Organizations in Support of AB 2316

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) announced the support of California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Award-winning actor and activist Morgan Freeman, the California Medical Association (CMA), and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) for AB 2316, the California School Food Safety Act. AB 2316 is currently supported by more than 70 organizations representing doctors, teachers, nurses, school employees, administrators, scientists, environmentalists, and consumer protection advocates.

“Healthy, safe school meals are foundational to our students’ wellness and ability to learn. As someone who depended on school meals growing up, I know how critical it is that our children receive food at school that is nutritious and is never harmful. AB 2316 is an important step forward to ensure that California’s schools are healthy and equitable learning environments for all,” said California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

“When we found out our schools were serving our kids foods containing chemicals linked to serious health problems, we were shocked,” said award winning activists and producers Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary. “If the European Union and countries around the world have banned or require products with these chemicals to have a warning label, we should not be serving them in our schools.”

Assembly Bill (AB) 2316 would prohibit schools from serving foods containing six synthetic food dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, and Green 3) as well as titanium dioxide, a coloring agent that is often used in sunscreens, cosmetics, paints, and plastics. These chemicals have been linked by scientists to cancer, DNA damage, and neurobehavioral issues. The legislation was introduced following a report by the California EPA, which found that consumption of synthetic food dyes can result in hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral problems in children.

The introduction of AB 2316 follows last year’s successful passage of AB 418 (Gabriel) – known as the California Food Safety Actwhich banned the use of four dangerous chemicals from foods sold in California and helped to spark a national conversation about the need for the United States to modernize its antiquated food safety laws. Like the California Food Safety Act, AB 2316 would not ban specific foods or products but rather encourage companies to make minor modifications to products sold in California and help prompt a nationwide transition to safer alternative ingredients.