The European Commission has adopted a ban on the use of titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive. The ban will apply after a six-month transitionary period, ending on 7 August 2022. From this date, food products containing titanium dioxide will no longer be able to be placed on the EU market.
The European Union (EU) has now published Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/63, amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008, as regards the food additive titanium dioxide (E 171). This Regulation removes the authorisations for the use of titanium dioxide as a food additive in the EU.
In order to mitigate the potential impact on food business operators, transitional measures were included in the Regulation, allowing businesses to continue placing food on the market containing E 171 for a limited period of time, while food business operators are working on the reformulation of their products. Those foods may then continue to be marketed until their date of minimum durability or ‘use by’ date.
Titanium dioxide will remain provisionally on the list of authorised additives to allow its use in medicinal products. This will be reviewed within three years of the
entry into force of this regulation (7 February 2025). During this time, the pharmaceutical industry is being encouraged to accelerate the development of
alternatives to replace titanium dioxide.
The removal of titanium dioxide as an approved food additive applies in respect to Northern Ireland, under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Titanium dioxide remains a permitted food additive in GB under retained Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has conducted an independent review of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions, taking this issue through the UK’s food and feed Risk Analysis process using data from the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA). As part of this process, the UK’s Scientific
Advisory Committees (SACs) are looking at this issue. A statement of the interim position of these committees has now been published.
The SACs will continue to consider the issue throughout the year in order to complete the risk assessment, whose current timeline is the first quarter of 2023.
This may change as the work progresses if more data is required to come to a conclusion.
You may also be interested to note that JECFA, the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives, is also assessing the safety of titanium dioxide as a priority.