US man dismisses case claiming Skittles are unfit for human consumption

Candy maker Mars was accused of endangering Skittles eaters by using "heightened levels" of titanium dioxide.

 Skittles candy pack is seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)
Skittles candy pack is seen in this illustration taken July 17, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

A California man who claimed Skittles are "unfit for human consumption" because they contained a known toxin has dismissed his federal lawsuit against Mars, the candy maker.

Jenile Thames voluntarily dismissed his case on Monday, according to a filing by his lawyers in Oakland, California.

No reason was given for the dismissal, which was without prejudice, meaning Thames can sue again. His lawyers did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment.

Mars was accused in the July 14 lawsuit of endangering Skittles eaters by using "heightened levels" of titanium dioxide, a compound that the privately held company had pledged in 2016 to phase out over five years.

 A girl picks candy at shopping mall in Vina del mar, Chile, May 14, 2017 (credit: REUTERS/RODRIGO GARRIDO) A girl picks candy at shopping mall in Vina del mar, Chile, May 14, 2017 (credit: REUTERS/RODRIGO GARRIDO)

Are Skittles bad for you? Candy maker, FDA say no

Though many foods contain titanium dioxide to add color, various studies have over the years questioned its safety.

The European Union this year banned its use as a food additive because it could damage DNA.

Mars, based in McLean, Virginia, on September 30 sought to dismiss Thames' lawsuit.

It said its use of "small amounts" of titanium dioxide did not harm the plaintiff, and complied with US Food and Drug Administration regulations.

"We are pleased with this outcome and reiterate our commitment to manufacturing our products in compliance with strict quality and safety requirements," Mars said in a statement on Tuesday about the lawsuit's dismissal.

Thames, of San Leandro, California, said he had bought Skittles in April at a local QuikStop, and would not have done so had he known their contents.