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USA Today reports that candy manufacturer Mars is being sued by a consumer who maintains that Skittles contain a "known toxin" called titanium dioxide - a compound that the company said it would remove from the candy in 2016, but that remains in it today.

The story says that "Mars Inc. uses titanium dioxide to produce Skittles' well-known array of artificial colors … The Thursday complaint also pointed to several Mars competitors who, according to the suit, do not use titanium dioxide to color their products - such as Sour Patch Kids and Nerds. In addition, Thames' attorneys noted that Mars has other confectionary products, such as M&Ms, "that do not rely" on titanium dioxide."

According to USA Today, the FDA's Code of Federal Regulations says that "'the color additive titanium dioxide may be safely used for coloring foods generally,' but there are several restrictions – such as the quantity of titanium dioxide not exceeding 1% of the food's weight.

"While the regulated use of titanium dioxide in food products is still legal in the U.S., it has been banned in some other countries, including throughout Europe. In May 2021, the European Food Safety Authority announced that titanium dioxide 'can no longer be considered safe as a food additive' – noting the importance of genotoxicity concerns, for example."

Mars has not commented on the litigation.