Detection of Titanium Dioxide in Food
Raman spectroscopy is a rapid and easy method to identify titanium dioxide (E171), a white pigment widely used in the food and consumer goods industries.
Titanium dioxide is a white pigment which is used in paints, plastics, paper, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, sunscreen, and toothpaste or as catalyst.[1,2,3]
In addition, it has been approved as a food additive (ingredient number E171) since 1969. The main food categories containing titanium dioxide are candy, bakery wares (esp. icing and decorations), chewing gum, ice cream, and cheese. Most food-grade titanium dioxide contains its anatase modification. It is highly stable towards various conditions (e.g. heat, light, pH) and thus unaffected by almost every type of food processing.
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety found in 2019 that there was not enough evidence to prove titanium dioxide was safe for human consumption. In consequence, the French government will ban titanium dioxide in food starting January 2020.[2,6]
These concerns have arisen following recent studies which considered nanoparticles of TiO2 to be harmful after oral intake.[3,4] Experiments revealed that titanium dioxide is absorbed by the mammalian gastrointestinal tract.[4,5] According to animal tests, it is a potential carcinogen.[1,4,5] As titanium dioxide is ubiquitous in foodstuff, a suitable and fast method to examine food products is needed. Since titanium dioxide is a very Raman-active material, Raman spectroscopy is a suitable method for examining titanium dioxide in food products.
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 S. Bettini et al., Scientific reports, 2017, 7:40373.
 www.tentamus.com/france-titaniumdioxide/; accessed 04.09.2019
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