The European Commission must act on French suspension of E171 to stand behind the scientific opinions of the European Food Safety Authority

The French Government decided to suspend the use of E171 in food in France from 1 January 2020. The European Commission is still to put a measure before the Member State Committee to decide whether the suspension is a justified national interim protective measure as required by article 54 of the EU’s General Food Law. The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) calls on the European Commission to stand behind the repeated opinions of its own agency, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and to dismiss the French suspension which is not justified as a precautionary measure in view of the current scientific evidence.

On 17 April 2019, the French government published a decree suspending the placing on the market in France of foodstuffs containing E171/titanium dioxide (TiO2) from 1 January 2020 as precautionary measure.

The French Government’s decree comes despite EFSA having now reviewed the safety and other aspects of E171 four times: in 2016, 2018 and May and June of 2019. In all cases they have repeated the safety of E171. This sends a clear signal that the suspension is not justified as a precautionary measure.

If the European Commission does not enforce the repeated EFSA opinions, it would deal a significant blow to the trust of consumers and businesses in the EU food safety standards. The E-number system has ensured the safety of products while providing for the free flow of goods in the EU for decades. Allowing the suspension to proceed would call into question this system as well as the integrity of the Single Market for food products.

Despite the decree entering into force on 1 January 2020 and discussions at a number of EU meetings with Member States, the European Commission is still to decide its approach on the matter. TDMA calls on the European Commission and the EU Member States to move forward and to oppose the suspension as soon as possible to reaffirm EFSA’s scientific authority. TDMA is committed to E171 and is aligned with EFSA’s findings. TDMA is working with the EU Authorities and will keep stakeholders informed regarding the next steps.

Further information about the safety of TiO2 in food is available here. TDMA stands by the safety of its product in all known applications and will work to ensure its continued safe use.

For any queries please contact Brett Pinker,