The European Union, has officially outlawed titanium dioxide as a food additive, a move that has seen more businesses develop innovative replacements.
In 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) classified it as “not safe,” citing a possible cancer-causing factor.
Almost 12,000 scientific articles were evaluated by EFSA scientists on titanium dioxide nanoparticles’ “genotoxicity” and their capacity to alter DNA and cause cell changes that may result in cancer.
Nanoparticles have been shown in animal experiments to influence gut microbes, which may cause disorders such as the intestine and bowel inflammation and colorectal cancer.
EFSA’s expert panel on food additives and flavorings found it could not rule out concerns about the genotoxicity of the nanoparticles, which accumulate in the body over time, meaning it could no longer be considered safe as a food additive.
The titanium dioxide phase-out period in the EU came to an end on August 7, signaling the start of the ban.
Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral, that is extracted from the earth, purified, and added to a range of foods and supplements.
Food-grade titanium dioxide is used to color confectionery, bakery, dairy, cheese, icings, decorations, frozen desserts, non-dairy creamers, dried soup, pet food, and medicinal, and cosmetic items.
Confectionery producers and other food entrepreneurs have been forced to alter their product compositions as a result of this new restriction.
The most recent potential alternative comes from Capol, which has created a natural whitening agent Vivapigments White.
It satisfies the demands of confectionery makers by achieving a high level of opacity through color technology and having easy product application.
Sensient Technologies, a global manufacturer and marketer of colors, flavors and fragrances has a global suite of titanium dioxide alternatives named Avalanche.
Ingredient manufacturer Blue California has introduced clean label whitening agents as a replacement for the white colorant.
For businesses impacted by the EU prohibition or those elsewhere that want to clean up their label, Ingredion offers alternatives as well as a reformulation plan.
Roha, a global food color manufacturer also recently launched the Niveous line of alternatives, which includes starch- and calcium carbonate-based treatments.
Meanwhile, the UK has made it clear that it does not intend to follow the EU’s approach and outlaw titanium dioxide.
Despite reviewing the EU’s position, the Food Standards Agency in England and Wales and the Food Standards Scotland (FSS) came to the conclusion that there are no safety issues to be identified.
An earlier USDA report also states that the food industry “has indicated to the US that there are no good alternatives to titanium dioxide that can provide similar pigment/opacity properties.”