Stop Eating This Food Coloring Ingredient, Watchdog Warns

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Woman reading ingredient label

Some of your favorite foods might include the ingredient titanium dioxide — and that can be a big problem for your health, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Recently, CSPI warned that titanium dioxide — which typically adds bright white color to products — includes nanoparticles that may accumulate in the body and damage your DNA. The result can be cancer and other health issues, CSPI says.

The center is warning consumers to avoid products containing titanium dioxide. According to CSPI, some examples of products that contain this ingredient include:

  • Wegmans Original Macaroni and Cheese
  • Campbell Healthy Request Chunky Chicken Corn Chowder
  • Food Club Chunky New England Clam Chowder
  • Marzetti Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
  • Kroger Fat Free Half-and-Half
  • Little Debbie Fudge Rounds

Overall, more than 1,800 brand-name food products have titanium dioxide listed among their ingredients, according to the Food Scores database maintained by the Environmental Working Group.

In addition, the presence of titanium dioxide can remain somewhat hidden when it is listed simply as an unspecified “artificial color” or under a “color added” designation, according to CSPI.

Although titanium dioxide generally is used to increase the whiteness of a product, that is not always the case. That is why it is not necessarily safe to look at a product such as Little Debbie Fudge Rounds and simply assume it does not contain titanium dioxide because of its color.

CSPI is not alone in warning about the potential danger of titanium dioxide. In 2021, the European Union’s Food Safety Authority determined that titanium dioxide is “no longer considered safe when used as a food additive.”

The European Union has since banned titanium dioxide as a food additive.

Earlier this year, the Canadian government’s Health Canada department declared that there is no conclusive evidence that titanium dioxide poses a health hazard. It noted that animal studies have not found links between titanium dioxide and changes in DNA.

However, Health Canada did say that it could change its view if new evidence of potential harm comes to light.

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