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Review of titanium dioxide as a food additive

​​Page last updated December 2021.

FSANZ is reviewing the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive following the recent release of an updated safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Titanium dioxide is a food additive typically used to enhance the colour and appearance of foods.

It is approved for use in certain foods sold in Australia and New Zealand as well as overseas and has been used for decades.

EFSA's expert Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings concluded in May 2021 that although the evidence for general toxic effects was not conclusive, titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe as a food additive. FSANZ, in consultation with our independent Scientific Nanotechnology Advisory Group, is now reviewing the EFSA assessment as well as existing evidence on the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive. This review will consider whether any actions may be required to protect the health and safety of Australian and New Zealand consumers.

To help inform our assessment, in July 2021 we issued a call for data from interested parties regarding the particle size of titanium dioxide used in food as well as relevant information on its safety as a food additive. The call for data closed in September 2021.

FSANZ will consider all data received and published studies on the safety of titanium dioxide, as part of our review. FSANZ's assessment and final report will be published on our website, pending final consideration by the FSANZ Board.

International response

In October 2021 the EU Member States supported a draft Regulation proposed by the European Commission to withdraw the authorisation to use titanium dioxide in foods, based on the EFSA scientific opinion. This Regulation is expected to be adopted and published at the beginning of 2022, pending consideration from the European Council and European Parliament.

Other international food safety agencies are responding to these developments with reviews of the EFSA opinion and the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive more broadly. In addition, titanium dioxide has been added to the Priority List of Food Additives Proposed for Evaluation by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

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