EFSA Declares Titanium Dioxide (E171) Unsafe as Food Additive


Posted By: Benoit Gruber

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On May 06, 2021, the European Food Safety Authority published scientific opinion on the safety assessment of food Additive E171 “Safety assessment of titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive.”

  • Less than 50% of constituent particles by number in E 171 have a minimum external dimension < 100 nm.
  • Particles < 30 nm amounted to less than 1% of particles by number.
  • Studies with TiO2 nanoparticles < 30 nm were of limited relevance to the safety assessment of E 171
  • Gastrointestinal absorption of TiO2 particles is low, may result in accumulation in the body.
  • Toxicological study indicated no adverse effects with either E 171 up to a dose of 1,000 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day or with TiO2 NPs (> 30 nm) up to the highest dose tested of 100 mg/kg bw per day.
  • No effects on reproductive and developmental toxicity were observed up to a dose of 1,000 mg E 171/kg bw per day
  • Immunotoxicity and inflammation with E 171 and potential neurotoxicity with TiO2 NPs, together with the potential induction of aberrant crypt foci with E 171, may indicate adverse effects.
  • A genotoxicity study indicated TiO2 particles have the potential to induce DNA strand breaks and chromosomal damage but not gene mutations. Safety concern in this case may not be ruled out.
  • No investigation on the potential carcinogenic effects of TiO2 nanoparticles due to unavailability of appropriately designed study.

The study concluded that titanium dioxide is no longer considered safe when used as food additive.

To view the Safety Assessment report, check out the Food News Monitoring System.