FRANCE – The French government has intensified campaign against titanium dioxide used as a pigment to bring a bright and smooth white appearance to pastries or confectionery or to opacify yogurt and ice cream, according to FoodingredientsFirst.

The country is debating to ban the use of titanium dioxide as an additive in recipes by the end of this year terming it to be having ‘no recognized nutritional value’.

The French Secretary of State, Verquin Confiseur praised the efforts of manufacturers for voluntarily removing the food additive, known as artificial color E171 on European food labels.

Although some argue its use does not add to a product’s shelf life, titanium dioxide is used in candy, chewing gum, cake icing and white sauces as well as in cosmetic and skin care products as a pigment, sunscreen and a thickener.

Studies by the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) have linked ingestion of titanium dioxide to cellular inflammation and potentially precursors of carcinogenesis.

The claim in relation to cancer is said to be what has prompted the French government to ban the product by the end of the year.

The possible health risks associated to titanium dioxide saw the French public authorities ask the European Commission in February 2018 to suspend its use while re-evaluating its impacts.

While the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) is yet to issue a new opinion on the additive, Stephane Travert, Minister of Agriculture and Food is leading an amendment under the draft law on the General States of Food to adopt measures to suspend its market placing and use by the end of 2018.

“It is essential to question the real utility of a substance whose only interest would be to make whiter than white food while serious doubts weigh on the health risks associated with its ingestion,” said the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson.

Sensient Colors Europe GmbH launched Avalanche – the new white, designed to best match the performance of TiO2 and offers strong whitening with excellent stability best for confectionery, sauces and instant beverages.