SAN FRANCISCO — A lawsuit filed against Mars, Inc. alleges the company’s Skittles candy are unfit for human consumption because they contain titanium dioxide, a food coloring. Plaintiff Jenile Thames filed the lawsuit July 14 in the US District Court, Northern District of California.

While the US Food and Drug Administration allows titanium dioxide in food, the lawsuit alleges Mars violated California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The plaintiff seeks a trial by jury.

The European Food Safety Authority in May 2021 announced it had determined titanium dioxide could not be considered safe for human consumption. Scientists within the EFSA could not rule out a concern for genotoxicity and consequently they could not establish a safe level for daily intake of titanium dioxide as a food additive.

Mars in a February 2016 press release announced plans to remove all artificial colors from its human food products. The company has yet to phase out titanium dioxide, according to the lawsuit.