Fruit gums on a scale: white color with risks and side effects
Photo: Jens Büttner / dpa
Because titanium dioxide strongly scatters light, it shines white - and is therefore used in the production of sweets, baked goods, sauces and toothpaste. But now the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, has classified the dye as not safe for human consumption due to possible cancer risks. Federal Food Minister Julia Klöckner is therefore calling for an EU-wide end to the approval of the dye, which is often abbreviated to E171 in lists of ingredients.
Klöckner said that consumer health must come first.
»In line with the precautionary principle, the EU-wide approval for titanium dioxide must therefore be withdrawn.
It cannot be ruled out that the food additive has a mutagenic effect, «explained the CDU politician.
"I have already turned to the EU Commission and asked them to take action here."
According to their own statements, the experts of the EU authority found no conclusive evidence of a toxic effect of E171.
However, they could not rule out negative effects on the human genome in the cells and possible cancer risks.
That is why they now advised against titanium dioxide in food.
The agency came to a less stringent conclusion in an earlier study in 2016.
She felt that more research was needed at the time.
Now, EFSA's food additive expert Maged Younes explained: "Taking into account all available scientific studies and data, the panel came to the conclusion that titanium dioxide as a food additive can no longer be considered safe."
Concerns about DNA, i.e. the genetic material of cells, were decisive.
Although you only ingest a small amount of titanium dioxide particles through eating: "They can, however, accumulate in the body," explained the expert.
mic / dpa