EU Notifies WTO of Proposed Ban on Titanium Dioxide as Food Additive

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November 5, 2021Emel KasimBlog

On 13 October 2021 the EU Commission filed a notification under the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO), amending Annex II and Annex III to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 on Food Additives concerning the ban of using titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive.

The text is expected to be finalized in January 2022. Once published (expected in January 2022), the amendment will start to apply 20 days later (with transitional provisions for a six-month period).

Verisk 3E Review 

Notification No. G/SPS/N/EU/512 proposes the amendment of Annex II and Annex III of Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008. The amendment would prohibit the use of titanium dioxide (E 171) as a food additive.

The draft regulation proposes removing the authorization of using titanium dioxide (E 171) in food products based on the recent scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as it is no longer considered safe for use as a food additive.

The following changes are proposed to be made in Annex II:

  • Inclusion of titanium dioxide in the listed colors and mixtures that may not be directly sold to consumers under point 2 of Part A, point 5
  • Amendment of Part B, point 1 "Colours" and addition of the footnote, "Titanium dioxide is not authorized in the food categories listed in Part D and E. The substance is in list B1 because it is used in medicinal products in accordance with Directive 2009/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 109, 30.4.2009, p. 10)."
  • Deletion of titanium dioxide (E 171) as an entry from Part C, point 2, "Group II: Food colours authorised at quantum satis"
  • Deletion of the four entries of titanium dioxide (E 171) in the following categories in Part E:
    • Category (fruit and vegetable preparations excluding compote)
    • Category 09.2 (processed fish and fishery products including mollusks and crustaceans)

In addition, the following change is proposed to be made in Annex III:

  • Removal of titanium dioxide (E 171) from Part 1 of Annex III as a food additive to which the carrier E 555 (potassium aluminum silicate) may be added

More information can be found in the draft amending Annex.

Titanium dioxide is used as a food color to increase visual appeal and to restore the original appearance of food. It also is used in cosmetics, paints, and medicines. The use of titanium dioxide in medicinal products is not affected by this draft regulation. A review clause in the draft regulation states that the commission will reevaluate the situation concerning medicinal products within three years after the date of entering into force of the regulation.

Verisk 3E Analysis 

Economic operators are advised to refer to the proposed amendment.

The amendment is expected to be adopted and published in January 2022. Once published, the prohibition is expected to start applying 20 days later. In order to allow a smooth transition, a six-month transitional period is provided for business operators.

Interested parties may submit comments until 12 December 2021 to:

European Commission
Telephone: +(322) 295 4263
Fax: +(322) 299 8090