Blue California debuts clean label food grade whitening agents as titanium dioxide is phased out
12 Jan 2022 --- Following the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ban of food additive titanium dioxide (TiO2), ingredient producer Blue California has launched clean label whitening agents as an alternative to the potential health risk white colorant.
“Brands that seek to replace the titanium dioxide white colorant will find many benefits to Blue California’s patent-pending food-grade whitening agents,” says Dr. Cuie Yan, vice president of encapsulation at Blue California.
“Our alternative to titanium dioxide is industry-changing with opacifying or whitening effects and excellent sensory benefits with a delicious creamy/rich mouthfeel and contains proprietary ingredients that may have additional benefits such as supporting cognitive health.”
FoodIngredientsFirst reached out to the supplier for more details on the clean label pigment’s ingredient makeup.
“Our clean-label, food-grade, and effective whitening agents are heat and pH stable for a variety of applications that match the performance of titanium dioxide yet overcome its safety concerns,” says Yan.
“We’ve innovated these solutions as safe alternatives for brands that need to reformulate products rapidly due to government authorities’ concerns, bans and phasing out titanium dioxide.”
Switching out a harmful pigment
One of the most widely used food pigments is titanium dioxide, an odorless powder that enhances foods' white color or opacity. The most common titanium dioxide products are chewing gum, candies, pastries, chocolates, coffee creamers and cake decorations.
Titanium dioxide is also used as a pigment in paints and medicines.
In recent decades, concerns about the risks of titanium dioxide consumption have grown. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes titanium dioxide as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) at a maximum 1% weight, but other organizations have issued warnings.
New governing rules in Europe are in action for producers to reformulate their products during a six-month window of phasing out titanium dioxide, which is labeled as E171 in the EU.
This follows the food authority European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) decision deeming titanium dioxide as “not safe” in 2021, and now a complete ban in 2022.
France banned the use of the additive in 2020, leading companies to invest in alternatives. One example is Lonza’ Vcaps Plus White Opal, its first commercially-available titanium dioxide-free semi-opaque capsule for food supplements. The move followed several lobby groups urging the European Commission to prohibit titanium dioxide.
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety last year called for a uniform approach to screening nanomaterials like titanium dioxide. The methodology proposed specific adaptations related to regulatory definitions, particle size measurements, dissolution properties and hazard identification.
Last May, FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with key players in the coloring industry to discuss their opinions about how to move on in an E171-free space.
Edited by Benjamin Ferrer
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