July 12, 2024

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1 Billion Chinese Mooncakes Rejected by EU Due to Carcinogenic Additive

1 Billion Chinese Mooncakes Rejected by EU Due to Carcinogenic Additive


1 Billion Chinese Mooncakes Rejected by EU Due to Carcinogenic Additive.

The reason for the rejection: Excessive levels of additives. But what exactly is this additive, and how did the EU detect it?

According to the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), on September 20, 2023, the EU notified China of the non-compliance of exported mooncakes.

The specific details of the notification are as follows:

  • Notification time: 2023-9-20
  • Products notified by the notifying country: Finland
  • Product: Mooncakes
  • Number: 2023.6371
  • Reason for notification: Unauthorized use of additives – dioxide bowl
  • Sales status/action taken: Product not yet placed on the market/destroyed
  • Report type: Notification of refusal of entry


1 Billion Chinese Mooncakes Rejected by EU Due to Carcinogenic Additive




What is Titanium Dioxide?

Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium white, has a chemical formula of TiO2. Titanium dioxide food coloring (E171) contains over 40% of nanoscale titanium dioxide particles. In addition to having the characteristics of regular titanium dioxide, nanoscale titanium dioxide offers a smoother texture, higher refractive index, better coverage, and superior whiteness.

These properties make titanium dioxide food coloring more advantageous compared to other white food colorings. Titanium dioxide is used in a variety of foods, including chewing gum, ice cream, salad dressings, and cookies.

However, titanium dioxide is a controversial substance because it may pose potential harm to human health. When used as a food additive, titanium dioxide particles have the potential to induce DNA strand breaks and chromosome damage (non-genetic mutations that disrupt cellular genetic material). These damages could lead to cellular dysfunction, cancer, and weakened immune systems, among other consequences.


Why Did the EU Ban Titanium Dioxide As Food Additives?

The EU has long been cautious about the safety of titanium dioxide. As early as 2010, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified titanium dioxide as “possibly carcinogenic.”

In 2010, a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer suggested that titanium dioxide might have potential carcinogenicity in animals, causing concern and anxiety among food regulatory agencies in many countries.

In 2014, Dr. Tao Chen’s team at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted research indicating “genotoxicity” of nanoscale titanium dioxide based on animal experiments, suggesting possible cellular genetic damage.

In 2016, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reevaluated titanium dioxide, concluding that there was currently insufficient evidence to prove its harm to humans but recommended further research.

In 2019, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety assessed the safety of titanium dioxide and found that despite its prior approval, there was insufficient evidence to establish its safety for consumption. Subsequently, the French government announced a ban on the use of titanium dioxide in food starting from 2020.

In May 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report stating that, considering all available scientific research and data, titanium dioxide was no longer safe for use as a food additive.

On October 13, 2021, the European Commission submitted a notification to the World Trade Organization, stating that the use of titanium dioxide as a food additive would be prohibited. This regulation was published on January 18, 2022, and had a transition period of 6 months, ending on July 18, 2022.

Despite the EU’s ban on titanium dioxide, controversy has not ceased. The EU Court of Justice has even rejected the EU Commission’s authorized regulation to ban titanium dioxide. Even within the EU, opinions are divided, with the UK directly rejecting the EU’s requirement. Gulf Standardization Organization countries, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Qatar, decided to ban titanium dioxide, and countries like Switzerland and South Korea made similar decisions. However, China, the United States, Canada, and other countries have not imposed relevant bans on its use.

In China, GB 2760-2014 “National Food Safety Standard – Food Additives Use Standard” and its supplementary notices specify the use of titanium dioxide in processed fruits, processed vegetables, cocoa products, chocolate and chocolate products (including cocoa butter chocolate and products), candies, syrups, seasonings, and beverages.

In the United States, the current regulations on color additives in 21 CFR PART 73 “List of Certified Color Additives” exempt titanium dioxide as a certified color additive. It can be used in all types of food in an amount not exceeding 1% of the weight of the food.

In the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code Schedule 15 “Substances that may be used as food additives,” titanium dioxide is allowed for use in coloring preparations, dairy products, edible oils and oil emulsions, ice creams and edible ices, processed fruits and vegetables, confectionery, cereal and cereal products, baked goods, meat products, seafood, sweeteners, seasonings, beverages, meal replacement formula foods and supplementary formula foods, sports supplementary formula foods, and special medical purpose foods, all to be used in accordance with GMP.




1 Billion Chinese Mooncakes Rejected by EU Due to Carcinogenic Additive

(source:internet, reference only)

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