Japan reconfirms the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive

On 19 July 2023, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (MHLW) published a report confirming the safety of titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a food additive. TiO2 has been approved by Japanese authorities as a food additive since 1983.

The conclusions of the report were based on three key points;

  1. The results from an independent 90-day study carried out by the Japanese National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) that shows extremely low absorption and no adverse effects from the oral ingestion of TiO2. This was undertaken to address the concerns raised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in their opinion from 6 May 2021.
  2. A literature review that revealed that since 2021 no new studies had been identified that would raise concerns for TiO2.
  3. Consistency with the opinions published by Health Canada, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the interim findings of the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) which do not support the conclusions of the EFSA.

As a result of this, no further action will be taken in Japan and TiO2 will remain allowed as a food additive. The scientific programme that the TDMA continues to undertake will further improve the understanding of the safety of TiO2.