On October 7, 2021, the EU Member States expressed a favorable opinion on a proposal by the European Commission to withdraw the authorization to use the food additive Titanium dioxide (E 171) in food products.
The ban on Titanium dioxide constitutes the next step taken by the authorities after the European Food Safety Authority updated its safety assessment in March 2021 and concluded that Titanium dioxide could no longer be considered as safe when used as a food additive. In particular, the Authority raised concerns regarding the accumulation of Titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the body, and could not rule out the potential genotoxicity of the substance (its capacity to damage DNA).
The draft regulation amends Regulation 1333/2008 on food additives effectively banning the use of E 171 in all food products. However, it provides a 6 month transitional period after the entry into force of the Regulation during which foods containing Titanium dioxide may still be placed on the market and may then continue to be marketed until their date of minimum durability or “use by” date.
The Regulation is expected to be adopted and published around January 7, 2022, provided there is no objection from the Council or the Parliament. To date, Titanium dioxide was banned at national level in certain Member States. In France for example, the ban was in effect since January 2020.
Food business operators should seek alternatives to the use of Titanium dioxide in their products, and as the reevaluation of the safety of food additives is still ongoing, they should be wary of future amendments to Regulation 1333/2008 on food additives.