Flaming Hot Cheetos
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
March 25, 2024 ·  3 min read

California Has a Proposal to Prohibit Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Other Snacks

Recent legislative efforts in California have sparked debate regarding the potential ban of certain snacks in public schools. Bill 2316, introduced by Jesse Gabriel, aims to prohibit the use of artificial dyes in foods served in California schools (like Doritos or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos) due to concerns about their impact on children’s health and development.1

Addressing Health Concerns

Artificial food colors: Synthetic dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1 have been linked to hyperactivity and behavioral issues in children.
Credit: Shutterstock

The proposed bill seeks to eliminate artificial dyes like red 40 and yellow 6 from schools. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos are the main culprits due to their popularity but they aren’t the only culprits. Advocates argue that these dyes have been linked to various health issues including cancer, hyperactivity, and neurobehavioral problems. Protecting students from harmful chemicals is the number one concern.

Legislative Response to Health Risks

Nutritional food for heart health wellness by cholesterol diet and healthy nutrition eating with clean fruits and vegetables in heart dish by nutritionist and doctor recommended for patient well-being
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Assembly Bill 2316 comes after passing the California Food Safety Act, which aims to phase out certain additives from food and drinks by 2027. Given the success of the Act, this Bill should have relatively solid traction with the angle and concern aimed at the next generation. Both pieces of legislation reflect a broader effort to address concerns about the safety of food additives and their potential adverse effects on public health. Sorry, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, it isn’t personal. 

Industry Response and Criticisms

Young girl shouts into the crowd while holding a sign "I Like Cheetos but Not This One" while marching in the NYC Women's March - New York, NY, USA January 1/19/2019 Women's March
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The proposed ban has faced opposition from some sectors of the food industry (yes, the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-making part of the food industry), arguing that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the link between artificial dyes and health problems in children. Christopher Gindlesperger of the National Confectioners Association characterizes the initiative as “an emotionally-driven campaign lacking scientific backing.”

Read More: 11 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Magnesium and 20 Foods to Fix It

Scientific Evidence and Concerns

Bored student
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Supporters of the bill point to research highlighting the potential risks associated with synthetic food dyes, including their impact on neurobehavioral development.3 Studies by organizations like the California Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health have identified connections between food dyes and hyperactivity, cancer, and ADHD in children. So there are connections and potential issues, but maybe the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos makers have a point. I mean, if there’s only the potential for your children to get cancer or have neurological development issues, that’s ok, right?

Future Implications and Legislative Process

Modern interior of cafeteria or canteen with chairs and tables, eating room in selective focus
Credit: Shutterstock

Assembly Bill 2316 will undergo further review in the Assembly Education Committee, where its potential impact on schools and students will be evaluated. While the bill targets public school cafeterias, its broader implications for food regulation and children’s health have continued to fuel debate among policymakers and stakeholders. What do you think? California’s proposal to prohibit Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and other snacks with artificial dyes does reflect an ongoing effort to prioritize children’s health. However, while policymakers navigate food regulation and public health issues, the debate this Bill has stirred up once again shows where the priorities lie for people. In the decision between making money or protecting your children’s brains, we once again see what industry leaders and stakeholders prefer. 

Read More: 14 foods that will help you look 10 years younger


  1. Here are the concerns with artificial food dyes, as California weighs a ban in schools.” NPR. Joe Hernandez. March 14, 2024.
  2. Ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in California schools? New bill targets snacks with artificial dyes.” SF Chronicle. Elena Kadvany. March 13, 2024.
  3. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Doritos could be banned from California schools under proposed bill.” Yahoo. Meredith Clark. March 16, 2024.