French decision on E171 does not account for the current weight of scientific evidence

The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) regrets the precautionary decision taken by the French government to suspend the use of E171/titanium dioxide in food in France from 1 January 2020 which goes against the repeated confirmations of E171’s safety by EU Authorities.

In more than 50 years of use as a colourant, no verifiable link has ever been shown between general intake of titanium dioxide and ill health in humans. As a food additive, E171 has gone through rigorous European testing and classification, which proved that it has not been found to persist or accumulate in the human body or the environment.

The review of E171’s safety by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2016 raised no concern over any adverse effects such as inflammatory changes or carcinogenicity. This was confirmed in 2018 despite the submission of four new studies, including the study by the French Institut National pour la Recherche Agronomique (INRA).

We understand there has been particular concerns over the determination of an acceptable daily intake (ADI). TDMA, in consultation with EFSA and the European Commission, have commissioned a study to allow EFSA to determine such ADI. This study is now underway, and the final report expected by the end of July 2020. TDMA are also supporting another study on the ingestion of E171, that so far shows no impact of ingestion of E171. This work is expected to be fully completed and reported by July 2019. We would therefore urge the French government to look closely at these results once available and possibly reconsider its decision.

TDMA is a responsible industry and safety of consumers is an utmost priority. However, we are concerned that this suspension will result in fragmentation and disruption of the European Single Market while the weight of scientific evidence does not show any immediate issue.

TDMA will continue to work with the French and European Authorities to address the potential concerns around the substance.

For any queries please contact Brett Pinker,