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News Article

Titanium dioxide food additive has been banned by EU

Despite safety concerns UK still approves use

The European commission has set a date for the banning of the food additive - titanium dioxide E171. The additive, widely used for colouring foodstuffs white like baked goods and sandwich spreads, to soups, sauces, salad dressing, and food supplements.

Member states of the Commission unanimously endorsed the proposal, which was first initiated in autumn 2021, after concerns over the potential carcinogenic effects of E171.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that E171 can no longer be considered safe when used as a food additive and a ban will apply after a six-month transition period.

EFSA stated that they did not have sufficient data to calculate a safe daily intake level of titanium dioxide, so instead moved to enact the ban on the use of titanium dioxide in food.

France banned the additive back in 2020 when safety concerns were first raised. However, the United Kingdom, which is no longer under EU jurisdiction, is not banning the use of E171 in food products despite safety concerns.

The UK's Food Standards Agency was not able to identify any safety concerns after reviewing the evidence, so no change will be made to the titanium dioxide regulation in the UK and Wales. Food Standards Scotland also came to the same conclusion. 

The EU's decision will also apply to Northern Ireland because of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Article details

  • Date
  • 21 June 2022
  • Source
  • Food safety magazine
  • Subject(s)
  • Food safety