The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has updated its safety assessment of the food additive titanium dioxide (E171), following a request by the European Commission in March 2020. Titanium dioxide is used as a food colouring, with its technological function being to make food more visually appealing, either to give colour to food that would otherwise be colourless, or to restore the original appearance of food. Additionally, titanium dioxide is often present in cosmetics, paints, and medicines.
The updated safety assessment revises the outcome of the EFSA’s previous review, published in 2016, which highlighted the need for more research to fill data gaps. The evaluation concludes that titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe as a food additive, primarily as the EFSA could not exclude genotoxicity concerns after the consumption of particles of the substance.
Source: EFSA, 6 May 2021