France announces ban on E171 food colouring additive


The French government has announced that a food additive containing titanium dioxide, which appears on labels under the code E171, and which is used mostly for colouring sweet products and sauces, but also employed in sunscreens, will be banned from January 1st 2020 after evidence that it is possibly carcinogenic.

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France will ban the use of a widely used food additive from 2020, its economy and environment ministries said Wednesday, after studies pointed to potential health risks for consumers, reports FRANCE 24.

The two ministries said following advice from health officials, a "decree suspending the sale of food products" containing titanium dioxide from January 1st had been signed and would be published shortly.

The additive, used mainly as a whitening and brightening agent in candies, chewing gum, white sauces and cake icing, is known as the artificial colour E171 on food labels.

It is also used in sunscreens because of the molecule's ability to reflect ultra-violet rays.

But critics say it offers no nutritional value nor extended shelf life, and could pose a risk to humans since the minuscule particles may be able to pass through protective walls of organs such as the liver, lungs or intestines.

France last year said it wished to suspend the sale and production of food products containing titanium dioxide.

In 2017 it ordered an inquiry after scientists reported that the additive could cause precancerous lesions in rats.

Read more of this AFP report published by FRANCE 24.



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