A petition calling on a ban on contentious ingredient titanium dioxide (E171) in food across the EU has received more than 73,000 signatures in less than a week.
Consumer groups Safe Food Advocacy Europe (SAFE) and Agir pour l’Environment and European Environmental Citizens’ Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS), which launched the petition, hope the campaign can garner enough support to add weight to their case.
The groups will use the petition to put pressure on decision makers and officials at the EU Commission and European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) and national representatives who are expected to hold meetings in the coming months to review E171.
“The more signatures we get in the future, the better EU consumers will be protected,” a SAFE spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
E171 is used as a white colorant in over 900 food items from chocolate, chewing gum and mayonnaise. It has been an authorised food additive in Europe since 1969. It has gone through several re-evaluations by the EFSA (in 2004, 2016, 2018 and 2019).
While the EFSA and US Food and Drug Administration authorise the ingredient, E171 has come under intense scrutiny because of studies linking it to negative health effects including damage to the intestinal flora and the development of cancers. Its detractors add that that the colorant serves no nutritional value.