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Titanium Dioxide No Longer Authorised As Food Additive in European Union.

Titanium Dioxide is no longer authorised as a food additive in the European Union, with effect from August 7th 2022.

Titanium dioxide is being banned in the EU as a possible carcinogen. [Note: A carcinogen is a substance, organism or agent capable of causing cancer.]

A class action lawsuit, which was filed recently in California, claims that sweets company ‘Mars’ failed to adequately warn customers about the chemical, titanium dioxide, and therefore committed a fraud of omission.
Mars says that ‘Skittles‘ are made in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, which permit the use of titanium dioxide at less than 1% of the food’s dried weight, and that the company has done nothing wrong.

Titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide (E171) is an additive that is used in food as a colour. Its function is to make food more visually appealing, to give colour to food that would otherwise be colourless, or to restore the original appearance of food. Titanium dioxide is used to provide whiteness and opacity to foods.

In terms of dietary exposure, titanium dioxide is often used in a variety of food categories, including bakery products, soups, broths, sauces, salads, savoury based sandwich spreads and processed nuts. It is also used in confectionary, chewing gum, food supplements and cake icing.

In May 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an opinion that stated that titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe when used as a food additive.

Based on this opinion, the European Commission and the Member States agreed to remove all uses of titanium dioxide as an additive in food. In January 2022, a Regulation withdrawing the authorisation to use titanium dioxide as a food additive in food products was adopted i.e. Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/63.

This regulation entered into force on February 7th, 2022. However, the Regulation included a six-month transitional period to allow food businesses time to phase out the use of this food additive and to reformulate their products using suitable alternatives. This period will now end on August 7th, 2022.

Food containing titanium dioxide that is lawfully placed on the EU market before August 7th, 2022 may remain on the market until its date of minimum durability or its ‘use-by’ date has passed. Food produced or placed on the market after August 7th 2022 cannot contain titanium dioxide. The ban on the use of titanium dioxide is effective in each EU Member State, and in Northern Ireland. Some third countries, such as the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland), continue to permit the use of titanium dioxide.

All food businesses currently using titanium dioxide as a food additive have a legal responsibility to comply with the requirements of Regulation (EU) 2022/63, banning the use of titanium dioxide.
The FSAI encourages food businesses to source suitable alternatives to titanium dioxide and start the process of reformulation now to ensure compliance in advance of the ban coming into force on August 7th 2022.

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