On 14 January, the EU banned the use of the additive E171, titanium dioxide. There will be a transition period leading up to August, but as of 7 August producers will be no longer able to make or market food containing the additive. Any products containing E171 still on the shelves may remain there until they are sold or reach their expiration date.
Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, in charge of Health and Food Safety, said when the decision to ban E171 was reached last October, “The safety of our food and the health of our consumers is not negotiable. Today, we act decisively with our Member States, based on sound science, to remove a risk from a chemical used in food.”
Titanium dioxide is used as a colourant in a number of products such as chewing gum, pastries, food supplements, soups and broths.
The European Food Safety Authority concluded that E171 could no longer be considered as safe when used as a food additive, in particular due to the fact that concerns regarding genotoxicity cannot be ruled out.
The agency did not conclude that E171 is genotoxic, but it was not able to establish a maximum Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for this food additive, in particular due to possible concerns with respect to genotoxicity, and it found that the safety of E171 cannot be confirmed.
Genotoxicity is the ability for a substance or any other toxic agent to damage DNA, the genetic material of cells, which may in turn, as a possible consequence, lead to cancer.