EFSA opinion on titanium dioxide (E171) published

Thursday, 6 May 2021

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published an opinion today that concluded that based on the overall evidence available, titanium dioxide (E171) can no longer be considered as safe when used as a food additive. It is a widely used food additive that has been considered safe for over 50 years. According to EFSA, the main food categories contributing to dietary exposure of E171 are fine bakery wares, soups, broths and sauces (for infants, toddlers and adolescents); and soups, broths, sauces, salads and savoury based sandwich spreads (for children, adults and the elderly). Processed nuts are also a main contributing food category for adults and the elderly.

The scientific data around the safety of titanium dioxide (E171) is uncertain. However, EFSA has concluded that it has sufficient concern that titanium dioxide (E171) should no longer be used in food as a food additive. Some people may have personal concerns and they can identify foods containing titanium dioxide (E171) by looking at the ingredients list on the food label which will say “colour: titanium dioxide” or “colour: E171” if the additive is in the food. This will enable consumers to make an informed purchasing decision.

As titanium dioxide (E171) is used in food throughout the EU, a European wide approach is needed to consider the next steps to protect consumers health. The FSAI will join other Member States at a meeting with the European Commission on 18 May 2021, where these steps will be discussed.

For more information, please see our Q&A 

EFSA opinion