On 24 November 2023, the WHO’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) confirmed the safety of titanium dioxide (TiO2).
After reviewing research from all available sources, JECFA concluded that previously raised safety concerns are not supported by the available evidence which was reinforced by the very low oral absorption rate and absence of any identifiable hazards.
The decision applies to INS171 the international number system for pigmentary TiO2 used as a food additive, which is similar to the E 171 specification in the European Union. JECFA will maintain the status of TiO2 as having an acceptable daily intake “not specified” in the diet. This means there are no limits on the consumption or quantity of TiO2 in food, though in practice, the TiO2 content is foods is typically much less than 1%.
This conclusion followed an extensive call for data which was initiated by JECFA in November 2022 and to which TDMA contributed information, including new scientific studies. JECFA has identified the need for more research to address some remaining uncertainty related to nanoparticles and develop more appropriate tests in this area.
Commenting on the report, Dr David Lockley, chair of the TDMA Scientific Committee said, “We welcome the findings of JECFA and hope the European Commission will consider this development in relation to current and potentially upcoming regulations in the EU.”
“We support the JECFA call for more research and testing in relation to nanoparticles and have developed an extensive scientific programme aimed at addressing these specific issues. It is vital that TiO2 can continue to provide numerous benefits to businesses, consumers, and the environment.”