Titanium Dioxide (E171) is a frequently used food additive. However, a recent report by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) found that the additive is unsafe, and the European Commission has made proposals to ban it.
In a tweet, Health Commissioner Sella Kyriakides said the Commission’s priority is ensuring the “health of its citizens and the safety of the food they eat and the products they use.”
The statement also noted that the Commission is proposing a ban on the additive and that discussions among the EU member states will begin later this month.
At the moment, EFSA hasn’t identified any immediate health dangers, which means there won’t be any action taken straight away. Instead, there will be discussions among the 27 countries.
“The way forward will be discussed in the next few weeks with the member states with a view to having a measure adopted as soon as possible,” the spokesperson added.
What is E171, and what are the risks?
E171 is a food additive that’s widely used in Europe. It’s most commonly used to add color to foods like cakes, pastries, food supplements, and confectionery. It doesn’t have any nutritional benefits, and it doesn’t provide any additional functions.
EFSA says that there are a number of concerns around the genotoxicity of the substance or the potential to cause damage to cells. The agency says it’s not clear how safe it is for consumers.
Food safety groups, such as Safe Food Advocacy Europe (SAFE), have been campaigning against the use of E171 for several years now and have welcomed the news that the European Commission has acknowledged the potential risks the additive could pose.
A representative from SAFE said in a statement that “alerts have been raised by consumers, NGOs and MEPs for years with the welfare of European consumers at heart and, in particular, the health of our children who eat toxic additives in their food on a daily basis.”
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