Sen. Willie PrestonSPRINGFIELD – In a landmark decision to prioritize the health and well-being of Illinoisans, State Senator Willie Preston joined fellow lawmakers at a press conference Wednesday to highlight his legislation to ban the use of four harmful food additives.

“There are a number of growing concerns about the negative effects and associated health risks of certain food additives,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “The ban in Illinois not only protects public health but also emphasizes our commitment to transparency and accountability. By focusing on consumer safety and offering clear directives to food manufacturers, we build trust and confidence among residents in the products they consume.”

Senate Bill 2637, better known as the Illinois Food Safety Act, would ban specific, dangerous food additives from being used in the manufacturing, delivering, distributing, holding or selling of food products. These additives include brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye No. 3.

“Several countries have already banned the chemicals that are listed in this legislation, and it is time we take a serious look at what is in the snacks, drinks and other foods we are putting in our bodies and into the bodies of our children,” said State Senator Seth Lewis (R-Bartlett). “If we are going to take steps to make Illinois a place where people want to live rather than leave, this is exactly the kind of issue where we can and should find some bipartisanship.”


Preston has been adamant about open conversations across party lines, along with stakeholders including the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Manufacturers' Association and the Secretary of State’s Office. He believes that seeking bipartisan solutions to food safety concerns prioritizes the long-term interests of the public while fostering an environment of trust and collaboration

“Families who live in poor areas or food deserts tend to go to convenience stores for all their grocery needs, so it’s essential that those foods are safe to consume, especially if they are eating them on a daily basis or multiple times a day,” said State Senator Rachel Ventura (D-Joliet). “We have seen other states that are passing similar legislation to ensure that regardless of ZIP code, everyone has access to safe and clean food.”

As a father of six, Preston stressed that this legislation prioritizes children who face heightened risks from these chemicals due to their developing bodies and increased consumption of these types of food products. The banned additives outlined in Preston’s legislation have been identified as detrimental to human health, with links to various health issues ranging from severe allergies to chronic diseases.

“My husband does the grocery shopping and several of my neighbors have come to me and said that he spends a tremendous amount of time reading labels, to which I respond that that is due to not wanting to bring anything home with these additives and chemicals,” said State Senator Adriane Johnson (D- Buffalo Grove). “The state has an obligation to keep all of Illinoisans safe, and this measure will provide greater health protections.”

"Many of the foods we eat contain harmful chemicals and additives that can affect our health, and I am proud to support legislation that puts our residents’ health first," said State Senator Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago). "Many of these substances have been in use for so long, and it is time for Illinois to take a step toward addressing food safety for our children and our communities."

Senate Bill 2637 awaits further discussion in the Senate.

State Senator Willie Preston joins Sen. Seth Lewis, Sen. Rachel Ventura and Sen. Adriane Johnson to speak on legislation to ban harmful chemicals in candy, soda and other food items sold and produced in Illinois.