EU’s withdrawal of E171 approval moves ahead despite confirmations of its safety by authorities around the globe

The six-month transition period for the EU withdrawal of the authorisation of titanium dioxide (TiO2) as the food additive E171 ended on 8 August 2022. During the transition period, food products containing E171 could still be placed on the EU market and marketed until their ‘use by’ date.

Following the EU’s decision to withdraw the approval for E171, authorities from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK have published assessments confirming the safety of TiO2. Yet, EU authorities have still not initiated a review of the scientific basis for the withdrawal. The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) calls on the European Commission to trigger a re-examination of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) 2021 opinion on the safety of E171 in light of the latest scientific developments.

The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) continues to disagree with the Commission’s decision to remove the EU approval for E171 in food and stands behind the safety of TiOin all intended applications.

Background on the EU withdrawal of approval for E171

The European Commission’s Regulation removing the approval for E171 in food follows the EFSA opinion on E171 published 6 May 2021. The EFSA assessment identified uncertainties over potential genotoxicity with a need to further investigate the effects of the substance.

The Regulation, adopted by the European Commission on 14 January 2022, included a six-month transition period from its entry into force (8 February 2022) in which food products containing E171 could still be placed on the EU market and marketed until their ‘use by’ date.

The uncertainties raised by EFSA have been recently addressed by a number of scientific authorities, including Health Canada and the UK Food Standards Authority (FSA) and the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which excluded the presence of health concerns linked to consumption of E171. Their assessments are based on a comprehensive review of all available scientific data relevant to food uses of TiO2 and new evidence generated after the EFSA’s assessment.

The TDMA is addressing the uncertainties raised by the EFSA’s opinion through an ambitious science programme aimed at generating further data to confirm the safety of E171. The TDMA will keep engaging with relevant stakeholders to ensure that ongoing and future reviews of the safety of TiO2 are conducted using all available data and best practices.

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