How will EFSA’s decision on titanium dioxide safety impact the US market?

As risk managers at the European Commission and in EU Member States consider appropriate regulatory action, the FDA told FoodNavigator-USA that it is now reviewing EFSA’s evaluation​​ “to better understand the data and findings​​​ of the studies included in their review” ​in order to “determine what the implications may be for FDA’s safety […]

As risk managers at the European Commission and in EU Member States consider appropriate regulatory action, the FDA told FoodNavigator-USA that it is now reviewing EFSA’s evaluation “to better understand the data and findings of the studies included in their review” ​in order to “determine what the implications may be for FDA’s safety assessment of titanium dioxide” ​in the US, where it is currently approved as a color additive exempt from certification ​(see box below).  

Suppliers of food colors, meanwhile, have seen a sharp uptick in inquiries about how best to replace the whitening agent, which is used in a variety of well-known brands from Dentyne​ and Trident White​ to Stride​ sugar-free gum. 

According to Thea Bourianne, manager, solutions consulting at Label Insight​, more than 11,000 products in its database of US food and beverage products list titanium dioxide within the ingredient statement, led by non-chocolate candy (32%), followed by cupcakes and snack cakes (14%), cookies (8%), coated pretzels and trail mix (7%), baking decorations (6%), gum and mints (4%), and ice cream (2%).

She added: “It’s very likely that titanium dioxide is contained in far more food products because it is an exempt color​, which doesn’t require explicit declaration on the ingredient statement.”

Sensient Food Colors: ‘We have seen a strong uptick in inquiries [about replacing ​TiO2]’

David Rigg, marketing director, global food colors at Sensient Colors​, said Sensient has been working on TiO2 ​alternatives for a number of years “given the scrutiny coming from regulatory bodies and other organizations.”

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