What Is Titanium Dioxide? And Why It’s used in Food

What Is Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a common ingredient used in the food industry. The FDA currently allows it to be used in a variety of foods, including cheeses and baked goods. It’s also found in some brands of yogurt, frozen desserts, candy bars, frostings, and cake mixes. Titanium dioxide can help prevent fats from going rancid when added to foods such as margarine and shortening. The use of titanium dioxide in food products has been increasing over the past few decades. However, there are concerns about its safety and whether it should be applied in food at all. This article will discuss the health effects of titanium dioxide ingestion and the possible risks associated with using it as an ingredient in personal care products.

What is Titanium Dioxide?

Why titanium dioxide used in Food

Titanium dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula TiO2. The compound has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food since 1954 and has been used in everything from candy to toothpaste for more than 100 years. Titanium dioxide is a chemical compound of one Titanium atom and two oxygen atoms(dioxide) with the formula TiO2. It is a white pigment, insoluble in water but soluble in carbon disulfide and other nonpolar organic solvents. The free metal can be cut with a knife or torn apart into flakes.

The chemical compound takes on a wide range of colors depending on the temperature and pressure applied during formation. At lower temperatures, below 320 °C (590 °F), it is completely colorless; at higher temperatures, it burns to form black smoke.

Because of this property for reflecting light, titanium dioxide has been applied since ancient times as a paint by artists and as an ingredient in cosmetics like toothpaste.

How is it made?

What Is Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is made from the mineral rutile, which is found in nature. The ore is crushed and ground into a fine powder. It’s then heated to over 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). At this temperature, the titanium dioxide separates from its oxygen atoms, leaving behind pure titanium dioxide.

The titanium dioxide is then washed to remove impurities before being pelletized (a process that turns it into a solid form) or granulated (a process that turns it into tiny beads). These pellets are then dried and ground into an ultrafine powder for food use.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified titanium dioxide as a food additive with an “indeterminate” safety level—meaning it doesn’t have enough information to determine its safety as an additive—but they also note that there are no reports of toxicity in humans or animals after ingestion of titanium dioxide in amounts consistent with normal consumption.

What are the uses of Titanium Dioxide in food?

Why titanium dioxide used in Food

Titanium dioxide has a wide range of uses in food. It is used as a white pigment, often to make foods look whiter, brighter, and more appealing. It is also applied to prevent discoloration from oxidation or other chemical reactions, and it can help prevent the growth of microorganisms in foods. Titanium dioxide is used to make food look white. It’s also applied in foods like yogurt, ice cream, candy, and frosting.

Titanium dioxide is also used as a coating on chewing gum and candy to prevent it from sticking to surfaces and packaging. As such, it helps preserve the taste and texture of these products.

Titanium dioxide is applied as a thickener, preservative, or flavoring agent and is often mixed with other ingredients such as flour or sugar.

Titanium dioxide and other titanium compounds are also found in some medicines such as toothpaste and sunscreens (to prevent ultraviolet light from penetrating your skin).

Is Titanium Dioxide safe to eat?

Why titanium dioxide used in Food

Titanium dioxide is a white powder that’s added to foods, cosmetics, and drugs. You may have eaten it in cake frosting, ice cream, gumballs, or even some medications.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers titanium dioxide to be safe as an additive in food at the levels used in food and drugs.

Titanium dioxide is not considered a carcinogen, reflecting any evidence that it causes cancer in humans or animals.

It wasn’t found to cause mutagenicity (changes in the genetic material of cells), which would increase the risk of cancer if the substance were consumed over many years. It also doesn’t appear to disrupt reproductive development or harm immune systems when consumed at reasonable doses over time.

Titanium dioxide has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen ”possibly carcinogen to humans”.

In 2021 some European countries have concluded the decision that Titanium dioxide is no longer a safe food additive. Also, from mid-2022, EFSA has imposed a ban of six months on the use of Titanium Dioxide as a food additive.

Side effects of Titanium Dioxide

What Is Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is an inert substance. When consumed, it passes through the digestive system without being absorbed into the bloodstream. It does not interact with other nutrients, nor does it have any known health risks when applied as a food additive. The FDA has approved titanium dioxide for use in foods such as yogurt, ice cream, and chewing gum.

The only possible side effects of titanium dioxide consumption are severe allergic reactions that can mimic anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). These reactions are rare; however if you experience them after eating items containing titanium dioxide, you should get immediate medical attention.

Find alternative ways to avoid eating Titanium Dioxide

What Is Titanium Dioxide? And Why It's used in Food

Titanium dioxide is a common food additive, but you may be surprised to learn that it’s also in your sunscreen, cosmetics, and toothpaste. While there are no immediate health risks associated with the use of titanium dioxide in these products, there are some concerns about long-term exposure.

One of the most common ways to avoid eating titanium dioxide is by reading labels on packaged foodstuffs. Titanium dioxide is often listed as an “artificial color” or “titanium dioxide.” You can also avoid products that list titanium dioxide as an ingredient by choosing products with fewer ingredients and those that are labeled organic or natural.

The FDA says there are no known health risks associated with eating titanium dioxide but recommends avoiding it if possible because there’s no way of knowing if the amount you’re consuming could cause problems. If you want to avoid titanium dioxide, check ingredient labels for any product containing “titanium dioxide” or “E171.”


The health benefits of titanium dioxide are mostly related to its ability to act as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger. It also has some anti-carcinogenic properties which make it ideal for use in food products. When used as a food additive, titanium dioxide helps protect against damage from light, moisture, heat, and air which can cause food spoilage or loss of nutrients over time. In addition, it prevents the oxidation of cells during cooking processes that might otherwise lead to the formation of potentially harmful compounds such as nitrosamines (source).


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