Dunkin’ Donuts has decided to remove the whitening agent titanium dioxide from its powdered sugar donuts as a result of a shareholder proposal by As You Sow which expressed concern that titanium dioxide is commonly a source of nanomaterials. According to As You Sow, an advocate group that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, nanomaterials may result in greater toxicity for human and environmental health.
A representative of Dunkin’ Brands told the Huffington Post that the ingredient used in Dunkin Donuts’ powdered donuts does not meet FDA’s definition of a nanomaterial. “Nevertheless, we began testing alternative formulations for this product in 2014 and we are in the process of rolling out a solution to the system that does not contain titanium dioxide,” the representative said.
Dunkin’ Brands Chief Communications Officer Karen Raskopf told USA Today that the decision to remove titanium dioxide was largely due to investor input on the matter. According to CNN, about 19% of Dunkin’ Brands shareholders supported a resolution for the removal of titanium dioxide from products last year.
Titanium dioxide is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved color additive. FDA allows titanium dioxide to be used in food as long as the amount of the colorant in the food does not exceed 1 percent by weight. Because titanium dioxide is exempt from certification, the specific name of the colorant does not have to be listed on labels of food that contain it. Instead, labels may list exempt color additives collectively as “artificial color”.
Titanium dioxide is also approved for use in cosmetics and is commonly used in personal products such as sunscreen and toothpaste. Despite its frequent use, titanium dioxide is a suspected human carcinogen and is reportable under the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005. Cosmetic manufacturers must disclose any products intended for distribution in California that contain titanium dioxide to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). According to the California Safe Cosmetics Program Product Database, titanium dioxide has been reported as an ingredient in 48,863 products.
Registrar Corp assists food and cosmetic companies with FDA regulatory compliance. Registrar Corp Label and Ingredient Review Specialists can help determine the regulatory status of specific additives and ingredients, as well as review product labels for FDA compliance. For questions or assistance, contact +1-757-224-0177 or chat with a Regulatory Advisor 24 hours a day at www.registrarcorp.com/LiveHelp.