Controversial dye

EU states agree to ban titanium dioxide for food products

Chewing gum, candy and other foods will likely have to do without the widely used white dye titanium dioxide (E171) from 2022. The EU member states agreed to a proposal by the EU Commission to ban the additive from foods because of possible cancer risks.

The safety of our food and the health of our consumers are non-negotiable.

EU-Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said Friday. The substance, known as E171, is also found in baked goods, soups and salad dressings. The EU Commission had submitted its proposal in the spring based on a revised recommendation from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Food Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) had also called for an EU-wide ban on the use of the substance in food.

The consumer protection organization Foodwatch, which has been campaigning for the titanium dioxide ban for some time, spoke on Friday of a „step in the right direction“. Now the EU should review and reduce „the other more than 300 food additives approved in Europe,“ said spokesman Andreas Winkler.

In terms of preventive health protection, all controversial additives must be banned.

Andreas Winkler, Foodwatch

EU states and the European Parliament now have until the end of the year to object to the ban. Otherwise, it will come into force at the beginning of 2022, according to the EU Commission. There will then still be a six-month phase-out period.

The use of titanium dioxide as an excipient in medicines such as tablets, on the other hand, is to remain permitted.

End of the agency report

How sick is this?

An outcry from patient advocacy and patient safety stakeholders should now be gathering momentum. It does not concern my current DOPANET initiative, with which I moved up-to-date within fewer days several federal authorities and so far three prominent medicament manufacturers to statements to the topic titanium dioxide in medicaments. I alone cannot effect anything.

A consortial outcry must go through society.

It is recognized that titanium dioxide is hazardous to health. It is written in black and white on the letterhead of the EU Commission. Are sick people who consume tablets as patients no longer healthy enough for it to be worth protecting them as well? How is this to be understood differently? Is the policy asleep? Or is it hoped that the public is so distracted by other issues right now that they are missing the point?

The decision that titanium dioxide will be banned from the food chain and food production is logical and to be welcomed.

However, the fact that titanium dioxide admixtures in medicines were excluded from the ban note is a veritable scandal.

There is a concrete need for renegotiation and action. The pharmaceutical industry would have to remove titanium dioxide from the list of ingredients used in the manufacture of medicines in order to take responsibility for its „clientele,“ the patients. And the protagonists of political parties, governments, patient representatives and the lobby would have to do everything to save their reputation and get involved in the issue.

Now and immediately! Who will help? How do we get publicity here?

The drug and therapy safety community needs to get fired up, consumer associations need to take up the issue, social associations, churches and unions need to get into the issue.


J. M. Mielert

Joachim Maurice Mielert
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