05 juli 2019

On 17 April 2019, a decree concerning the suspension of the placing on the market of foodstuffs containing the additive E 171 from 1 January 2020 and renewable for one year was signed by the European Parliament.

Additive E 171 is commonly used in the food industry, particularly in confectionery, pastry, chewing gum and ready meals. This dye is composed of 40% micro and nanoparticles of titanium dioxide which give it its bleaching and opacifying properties.


The real problem raised by additive E 171 is its nanoparticle nature. A study conducted by INRA in 2016 concluded that, when ingested regularly, this dye has the potential to cause a non-malignant stage of colon carcinogenesis in rats. However, no study has concluded that there are any risks associated with the ingestion of this additive in humans.


Faced with this controversy, manufacturers are investing in alternatives that are just as effective as titanium dioxide in terms of bleaching properties.


Mars Wringley Confectionary France, manufacturer of the famous M&M's dragees, has announced that it will replace the additive with rice starch by the end of the year at its plant in Haguenau, in the Lower Rhine region. Rice starch is composed of small starchy granules (3 to 8 micrometers) very white. Insoluble in water, rice starch is not suitable for aqueous preparations.


For some gelled candies such as Haribo Croco candies, for example, the whitening properties are provided by the abundance. This process consists of beating the dough to unroll the amphiphilic proteins. These proteins then organize themselves in such a way as to trap the air bubbles, which increases the volume of the emulsions by up to 1.5 times and whitens them.


Another additive, E 170, composed of calcium carbonate, can also provide whiteness and opacity.

Some manufacturers such as the William Saurin brand anticipated this suspension well in advance, they removed the additive from their dishes in 2017.

At Unipex, we are well aware of the problems encountered by our customers to bring whiteness and opacity to their culinary preparations. To overcome these problems, our partner Sisterna has developed sucro-esters. This ingredient can be incorporated as a crystallization agent for the confectionery coating process, in fluxes and glazes (promotes the formation of small sugar crystals) or in emulsions (oil droplets become small).


To find out the technical properties of Sisterna's sucrose esters, click here