EFSA 2021 safety assessment of titanium dioxide (E171)
1. What is titanium dioxide?
Titanium dioxide is used a food colour (E171) and, as with all food colours, its technological 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 also present in cosmetics, paints, and medicines.
You can find more information about EFSA’s work in the area of food additives on the website. Also you can contact us for titanium dioxide test.
2. What foods contain titanium dioxide?
The main food categories contributing to dietary exposure of E171 are fine bakery wares, soups, broths and sauces (for infants, toddlers and adolescents); and soups, broths, sauces, salads and savoury based sandwich spreads (for children, adults and the elderly). Processed nuts are also a main contributing food category for adults and the elderly.
3. What is EFSA saying in its 2021 opinion on the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive?
After conducting a review of all the relevant available scientific evidence, EFSA concluded that a concern for genotoxicity of TiO2 particles cannot be ruled out. Based on this concern, EFSA’s experts no longer consider titanium dioxide safe when used as a food additive. This means that an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) cannot be established for E171.
EFSA’s evaluation is related to the risks of TiO2 used as a food additive, not to other uses.
4. Should I stop eating products that contain TiO2?
Although the evidence for general toxic effects was not conclusive, on the basis of the new data and strengthened methods our scientists could not rule out a concern for genotoxicity and consequently they could not establish a safe level for daily intake of TiO2 as a food additive.
In their role as risk managers, the European Commission and Member States will now reflect on EFSA’s scientific advice and decide upon any appropriate regulatory measures or advice for consumers.
5. Is EFSA banning titanium dioxide?
No. EFSA’s role was limited to evaluating the risks linked to titanium dioxide as a food additive. This included an assessment of relevant scientific information on TiO2, its potential toxicity, and estimates of human dietary exposure. Any legislative or regulatory decisions on the authorisations of food additives are the responsibility of the risk managers (i.e. European Commission and Member States).
6. What happens next?
EFSA’s scientific advice will be used by risk managers (the European Commission, Member States) to inform any decisions they take on possible regulatory actions.
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