What is TiO2?
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been a major ingredient player in the global food and confectionery sector for decades, and this popular additive is often used as a food colorant called “titanium dioxide” or simply as E171.
First mass-produced in 1916, TiO2 has developed into the most widely used white food pigment due to its brilliance and ease of processing, commonly used in ice cream, condiments, cakes, marshmallows, chewing gum and many other types of confectionery.
Although titanium dioxide has become a widely used “whitening agent” in the food industry, its prospects are dimming, on the one hand, from the safety of the scientific community, and more importantly, some regions are beginning to ban the use of titanium dioxide through “legislation”.
TiO2 used in food in China
In China, according to GB2760-2014 “National Food Safety Standard Food Additive Use Standard” stipulates, the function of food additive titanium dioxide is a colorant, in the category of “candy and chocolate products coating”, the maximum amount of titanium dioxide is “appropriate use according to production needs”, the maximum amount of use in gum-based candy is 5.0 g/kg, and the product category with limited use requirements is allowed to add between 0.5 g/kg ~ 10 g/kg.
EU Regulation on TiO2
On Nov. 23th, 2022, The General Court annuls the Commission Delegated Regulation of 2019 in so far as it concerns the harmonoised claffification and labelling of Titanium dioxide as a carcinogenic substance by inhallation in certain powder forms.
But we need to record the EU’s attitude on Titanium dioxide. Epecially when The European Commission is banning titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive in the EU, starting with a six-month phasing out period as of February 7, 2022, until August 7, 2022, after which a full ban applies. Following the publication of Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/63 in the EU’s Official Journal (OJ) on January 18, 2022, Annex II and III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives will be amended accordingly. The Regulation also includes a commitment to review the necessity to maintain or delete titanium dioxide (E171) from the EU list of food additives for exclusive use as a color in medicinal products. On November 30, 2021, the Commission had already published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2090 in the OJ, denying the authorization of titanium dioxide (E171) as a feed additive for all animal species.
Titanium Dioxide recent situation in the world market
In response to the EU ban, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries are opposed. The U.S. FDA states that titanium dioxide meets all safety parameters in the United States. Canadian health authorities said no food-grade titanium dioxide was found to be carcinogenic. In March 2022, the UK’s Food Standards Agency also rejected the findings of the European Union and refused to ban the use of titanium dioxide in food. At present, many countries and regions, including China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, are still allowed to use titanium dioxide.
Any Alternatives for Titanium Dioxide TiO2?
Even thought finaly the EU release the bans on Titannium Dioxide TiO2, but In order to cope with and reduce the impact of the EU ban and also the pursuing of clean labels , some companies have successively launched alternatives to titanium dioxide. Although the USDA notes that U.S. food companies say there are currently no good alternatives that can provide the color and opacity that titanium dioxide imparts. At present, the main components that can replace titanium dioxide are calcium carbonate and starch-based products (rice or corn starch, etc.).
Here are some companies develop some news products to take the seat of Titanium Dioxide.
- Sensient Food Colors introduces AvalancheTM, a natural white sunscreen that can be used in virtually any pH system and application, consisting of starches and minerals that meet the needs of clean label, and can be used in a wide range of soft gels, hard capsules, tablets, lozenges and gummies.
- CAPOL launched a natural whitening agent VIVAPIGMENTS White, which is a natural colorant wrapped in a rice protein matrix, with calcium carbonate as the matrix, to achieve a high level of opacity, to meet the special requirements of confectionery manufacturers in the hard candy coating process, VIVAPIGMENTS® White is easy to stir in sugar solution, easy to apply the product.
- ROHA introduced the Niveous series to replace titanium dioxide. Based on starch and calcium carbonate solutions, the Niveous range has a strong whitening and masking effect, is stable in light and heat, and can be used without changing any manufacturing process, is 100% natural, does not contain preservatives, meets clean label requirements and can be used in confectionery and beverages.
- Natural ingredient producer Blue California has also complied with the EU ban by introducing a clean label whitening agent as an alternative to titanium dioxide. This substitute has a shading, whitening effect and has excellent sensory benefits, while also having a rich taste.
- ADM launched its proprietary white solution, the PearlEdge™ series, which is derived from natural cornstarch and more, which imparts a bright, stable and uniform white color to a wide range of food and beverages.
New ingredients coming from Innovation, and the old Titanium Dioxide will be abandoned or kept using will be just a time issue. The technologies innovation and impoving will be the main trend of health ingredient industry.