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E171 dye is soon banned in confectionery, not in toothpaste or medicine

The government has decided to suspend, in food, this additive formed of nanoparticles of titanium and suspected to be carcinogenic on the basis of a report from ANSES delivered Monday.

By Stéphane Mandard Posted today at 17h00, updated at 18h26

Time to Reading 2 min.

The E171 is present in many sweets.
The E171 is present in many sweets. JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

After long procrastination, the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, finally decided to ban the food additive E171. The decision should be announced " during the week ", indicates at World, Monday, April 15, a source close to the minister, confirming information from Europe 1.

This suspension follows the submission of a report that Bruno Le Maire had ordered in January to the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES) to take stock of the associated risks to this dye very present in confectionery, chewing gum, biscuits or prepared dishes. According to our information, the ANSES report concludes that it is impossible to demonstrate the absence of danger related to E171. The new elements gathered by the experts of the agency "Do not eliminate the uncertainties regarding the safety of the E171 additive", raise the ANSES.

Suspected of being carcinogenic, this additive formed of nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) is still widely used by agri-food manufacturers, although some have recently committed to withdrawing them from their revenues.

"A form of inconsistency"

The E171 had been on the hot seat for several months. His suspension is provided for in the law Egalim promulgated in November 2018 in the wake of the States General of Food. But for it to be effective, a ministerial decree is necessary. In a forum published in The world end of December 2018, about twenty associations – including the League against cancer, Greenpeace, Foodwatch, 60 million consumers or the Alliance for Health and the Environment, which brings together dozens of NGOs, learned societies and European research institutes – urged Bruno Lemaire to sign the decree in order to "Do not hinder an important public health decision". Las. In January, the Minister of Economy had preferred to postpone its decision pending the results of a new expertise entrusted to ANSES.

Read also E171 dye is soon banned in confectionery, not in toothpaste or medicine

After reading this report, Bruno Le Maire should now sign the famous decree in the coming days. The latter is not yet fully written. According to our information, the ban on E171 will apply only to food and will concern both products manufactured in France and imports. On the other hand, it will not apply to drugs or toothpastes.

By 2017, a UFC-Que Choisir study had shown that nearly 4,000 drugs, some of which are very common (Doliprane, Dafalgan, Efferalgan or Advil) contained the controversial E171. At the end of March, tests conducted by the association Agir pour l'environnement noted the presence of titanium dioxide in two-thirds of toothpastes.

"For drugs, just like toothpaste, it's more complicated, it will take more time", says one to Bercy. "There is a form of inconsistency in taking note of the uncertainties surrounding titanium dioxide and limiting its prohibition to only foods, even though this additive is also ingested when brushing teeth, especially children, and even more so with drugs, " responds Stephen Kerckhove, the general delegate of Acting for the environment.

Stéphane Mandard

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