UNPA / Titanium Dioxide — exempted from California AB 418 / Here are the Details

Sep 26, 2023

From: Loren Israelsen <loren@unpa.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 21, 2023 at 11:56 AM
Subject: UNPA / Titanium Dioxide — exempted from California AB 418 / Here are the details
To: UNPA Colleagues <heidi@unpa.com>

Dear Colleagues —

On September 11, 2023, the California Senate passed California AB 418 — “The California Food Safety Act.” On September 19, the bill was presented to the Governor for signature, which is where things stand as of this moment.

A critical change was made at the last minute. Titanium dioxide was removed from the final Senate version. When the Governor signs the bill (which is expected), four other substances, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben and red dye #3 will be prohibited for sale for human consumption as of January 1, 2027. TiO2 remains a lawful food ingredient in California. Just how this happened is a long story, which boils down to effective lobbying on the part of a number of food associations, the OTC and dietary supplement industry, and a number of other organizations that convinced the Senate that TiO2 simply does not rise to the level of concern as the other four soon-to-be-banned ingredients, and no suitable alternatives currently exist.

Of note, there was no stated reason for the exclusion of TiO2 in the Senate amendment summary.

I strongly recommend you read these very interesting summaries of the bill found HERE and HERE. These two summaries have common elements, but they offer two separate sets of analysis and background, both of which are extremely informative to frame the broader issue of the lack of safety of many food additives approved 50-60 years ago and which are likely to come under scrutiny going forward. It is clear the Senate was very concerned about the highly damaging effects of synthetic dyes on children, and particularly their role in promoting ADHD and other neurological problems in kids. I note this, as the DS industry is advised to take a very close look at the use of any of the 9 certified color additives which are noted in the Senate comments.

This is not yet the end of the TiO2 story, as the citizen petition filed by a number of consumer interest groups remains before FDA. There is no update on the status of this CP. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) filed extensive comments, which I also recommend for your reading. Given the importance of TiO2 to the DS industry, these comments note and detail the difficulties in replacing TiO2, which remains an important objective. We are aware many companies are making efforts to move away from TiO2, and UNPA will be happy to help facilitate those discussions on behalf of interested member companies. In particular, engagement with the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) would seem useful as an association-to-association conversation.

We, of course, will keep you informed on all of the above.