In an article published on May 15, 2019, by Confectionery News, Kristine Sherred informed that “France has ordered food companies to eradicate titanium dioxide (TiO2) [(CAS 13463-67-7; food additive E171)] from their products by January 1, 2020.” In May 2018, French government has already informed of its plans to ban titanium dioxide in food (FPF reported). The final decision follows the publication of a report on nanoparticulate titanium dioxide in food, released by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) on April 15, 2019. In 2017, the agency has already published an appraisal of E171 (FPF reported) in response to a study suggesting a link between titanium dioxide nanoparticles ingestion and gut cancer (FPF reported). The new report concluded that, since the 2017 appraisal, there has not appeared “any new information to resolve the uncertainties regarding the safety of the additive.” Therefore, “pending a better characterization of the hazards and risks,” ANSES “reiterate[d] its general recommendations on nanomaterials, aimed mainly at limiting the exposure of workers, consumers and the environment, by promoting safe alternatives with equivalent effectiveness.”

On May 13, 2019, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its statement on the ANSES opinion. The EFSA concluded that “the ANSES opinion published in April 2019 does not identify any major new findings that would overrule the conclusions made in the previous two scientific opinions on the safety of titanium dioxide (E 171) as a food additive issued by the EFSA ANS Panel in 2016 and 2018.” The “previously identified uncertainties and data gaps . . . are currently being addressed in the context of the follow up activities originating from the previous EFSA evaluations and its recommendations.” With regard to the ANSES recommendation to further investigate in vivo genotoxicity, also voice in the 2019 appraisal, the EFSA suggested that “this recommendation . . . be revisited once the ongoing work on the physico-chemical characterization of the food additive titanium dioxide (E 171) is completed.”

A study by Gabriela Pinget and colleagues from several Australian universities, published on May 14, 2019, in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Nutrition, reported that exposure of mice to food grade titanium dioxide delivered in drinking water could alter the profile of metabolites released by the gut microbiota, and these changes were “associated with colonic inflammation.” The authors concluded that their findings “collectively show that TiO2 is not inert, but rather impairs gut homeostasis which may in turn prime the host for disease development.”

Read more

Kristine Sherred (May 15, 2019). “In France, no titanium dioxide in food by 2020.Confectionery News

ANSES (April 15, 2019). “Food additive E171: ANSES reiterates its recommendations for consumer safety.

ANSES (April 12, 2017). “Titanium dioxide nanoparticles in food (additive E171): biological effects need to be confirmed.

University of Sydney (May 13, 2019). “Common food additive found to affect gut microbiota.

BfR (May 22, 2019). “Titandioxid — es besteht noch Forschungsbedarf.


ANSES (April 12, 2019). “AVIS de l’Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail relatif aux risques liés à l’ingestion de l’additif alimentaire E171.” 2019-SA-0036 (pdf, in French)

EFSA (May 13, 2019). “EFSA statement on the review of the risks related to the exposure to the food additive titanium dioxide (E 171) performed by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES).EFSA Journal doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2019.5174

Pinget, G., et al. (May 13, 2019). “Impact of the food additive titanium dioxide (E171) on gut microbiota-host interaction.Frontiers in Nutrition doi 10.3389/fnut.2019.00057