New initiatives in the United States to restrict the use of titanium dioxide in food miss important new robust scientific developments confirming that titanium dioxide is safe

There have been a number of recent developments in the United States including a proposed Assembly Bill 418 (AB 418) in California which seeks to prohibit the manufacture, sale or distribution of food products in California containing five additives including titanium dioxide (TiO2) and a petition to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban E171 in food. The TiO2 industry is currently preparing a response to the US FDA Petition which has a deadline of 3 July 2023.

These US initiatives are mainly based on the opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) from May 2021 that due to uncertainty about the effect of small nano particles, could not conclude that TiO2 or E171 was safe.  It is important to emphasise that the EFSA did not say that TiO2 was unsafe.

Since the EFSA opinion, a significant amount of new robust scientific work has been completed which confirms the safety of TiO2 including a new study showing low bioavailability of TiO2 and the validation of a comprehensive US National Cancer National Institute study showing no adverse findings.

After a review of the EFSA Opinion and as a result of this new information, Health Canada carried out a detailed evaluation and published a report on the State of the Science of TiO2 as a Food Additive and did not identify any compelling health concerns for the use of TiO2 as a food additive.  Similar reviews and conclusions were made by the US FDA, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the interim findings of the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Most recently and importantly, a new independent study by the Japanese National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) has just been reported. The study evaluates the specific concerns from the EFSA relating to small nano particles and no effects whatsoever were observed.

The TDMA continues to put safety first and proactively invest in new robust scientific studies to the latest guidelines and scientific techniques to help address emerging concerns.