EFSA has updated its safety assessment of the food additive titanium dioxide (E 171), following a request by the European Commission in March 2020.
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.
Titanium dioxide (E 171) is authorised as a food additive in the EU according to Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008. 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.
EFSA’s evaluation is related to the risks of TiO2 used as a food additive, not to other uses.
EFSA is not banning the use of E171, their 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 Commision and Member States).
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