Titanium dioxide’s safety as a food additive reaffirmed

  • The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reaffirmed on 29 June 2018 the safety of Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) as a food additive (E171), following a request on 22 March 2018 from the European Commission for a scientific opinion.
  • The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) calls for EFSA’s opinion to be respected and for EU legislation on food safety to be observed throughout the EU.


E171 is the most effective white colorant in use and it has gone through rigorous European testing and classification which has continually demonstrated its safety. EFSA established in 2016 that data on E171 showed no health concerns for consumers and EFSA’s new opinion supports this conclusion. The opinion sends a clear signal that the current discussion in France regarding the suspension of placing E171 and food containing it on the market is unwarranted. In view of this, the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) calls on the European Commission to ensure that the EU’s food safety legislation is followed throughout the Union.


EFSA’s scientific opinion follows a question from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) regarding four studies alleging that E171 has potential adverse health effects, which have been published since its opinion in 2016. EFSA found that these studies do not change its prior conclusion that E171 is safe. Notably, EFSA highlights significant uncertainties in the conclusions of one study and the effects seen in another study were considered of limited relevance for E171.


The TDMA is concerned about such studies conducted with types of TiO2 not used in food as these mislead consumers and give a misrepresentation of E171’s safety. This is significant as E171 has important applications not only in food and cosmetics but also in the pharmaceuticals sector where it enhances patient safety through its use as one of the only colourants that live up to stringent standards for safety.


The TDMA as a responsible industry strives to continually renew scientific knowledge on TiO2’s safety to ensure the responsible use of our product. Therefore, we are currently undertaking a state-of-the-art science programme, in consultation with EFSA, testing TiO2’s safety to bring forward new evidence. We are confident that once this programme is concluded any outstanding questions will be answered and E171 will continue to be a trusted ingredient in numerous products.


Further information about the safety of TiO2 in food is available here. The 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 Silvia Ruiz Casan, src@cefic.be