Opinion of the Scientific Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food (AFC) on Titanium dioxide


Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food
Panel members at the time of adoption
R. Anton, S. Barlow, D. Boskou, L. Castle, R. Crebelli, W. Dekant, K.-H Engel, S. Forsythe, W. Grunow, M. Heinonen, J.C. Larsen, C. Leclercq, W. Mennes, M.-R. Milana, I. Pratt, I. Rietjens, K. Svensson, P. Tobback, F. Toldrá.
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
Question Number
8 December 2004
1 March 2005
Last Updated
1 March 2005. This version replaces the previous one/s.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
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No abstract available


The Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids And Materials In Contact With Food has been asked to evaluate the safety in use of rutile titanium dioxide as an alternative to the presently permitted anatase form.

Titanium dioxide is an approved food colour with an ADI “not specified” by JECFA. The 1969 JECFA assessment based this on the lack of significant absorption and tissue storage in several species including humans. In the European Union Titanium Dioxide (E171) is listed in Annex I of Directive 94/36/EEC as a permitted colour in foodstuffs. Titanium dioxide can be manufactured to form two crystal structures, anatase and rutile. The current specification for titanium dioxide in Directive 94/36 only permits the anatase form. The JECFA specification for titanium dioxide allows both forms.

The Panel considered that the rutile and anatase forms of titanium dioxide were similar chemically but differed in their crystalline structure and light reflectance. The Panel agreed that a new bioavailability study showed that bioavailability of these forms was essentially the same and that therefore the toxicological database would be applicable to either form. The Panel noted that although estimated exposures were provided for the petitioner’s proposed uses of the platelet form of rutile titanium dioxide, the platelet form of rutile titanium dioxide could be used to replace anatase titanium dioxide in any of its current applications.

Titanium dioxide, E171, food colours, CAS 13463-67-7