France has temporarily banned the use of the food additive E171 in their foods. This action was interpreted as a precautionary measure. The precautionary measure is based on Article 54 of Regulation ndeg 178/2002 and allows Member States to take protective measures when they believe the substance may pose a serious risk to human health. The French Government has banned the use of E171 in food products from January 2020.
Titanium dioxide is widely used in food products. It is a white colourant and is often found in sweets, sugar glazes, and cake decorations. But a recent report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has shown that this substance is not safe for consumption. In fact, the substance is suspected of causing cancer and other health problems. It is available in food and cosmetics.
The dangers of E171 are unclear, however, because the additive contains 45% nanoparticles, which may cause health risks. The toxicity of nanoparticles is dependent on their size, morphology, and rate of migration. The risk of exposure to this chemical is unknown. The European Commission has a list of food sources containing E171 in their foods.
What are the major food categories that contain this additive? For the most part, it is used to make food colours. While it does have a technological function, it is also used in paints, cosmetics, and medicines. Fine bakery wares and soups are the main contributors to the dietary exposure of this additive. For toddlers and infants, it is also found in processed nuts, which is considered a high-risk category.