Dunkin’ Donuts has agreed to remove titanium dioxide from its doughnuts after two years of pressure from the non-profit advocacy group, As You Sow.
Titanium dioxide is what Dunkin’ Donuts uses to make their powdered doughnuts white. A common whitener found in many processed foods, the FDA allows up to one-percent of the total ingredients to contain the substance without being labeled.
According to the Huffington Post, there hasn’t been a conclusive study as to whether titanium dioxide is toxic to human beings. But As You Sow claims to the contrary, stating that the nanoparticle used in Dunkin’ Donuts can be toxic.
Dunkin’ Donuts stated that it has conformed with FDA standards, but acknowledged that it plans to seek an alternative to the controversial ingredient.
“The ingredient used in our powdered donuts does not meet the definition of ‘nanomaterial’ as outlined under FDA guidance,” a Dunkin’ Brands (Dunkin’ Donuts’ parent company) representative told the Huffington Post.
“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.”
According to USA Today, Dunkin’ Donuts made the decision based off investor recommendations.
“Dunkin’ Brands understands that investors are increasingly interested in the sustainability of the companies in which they invest,” read an emailed statement from Dunkin’ Donuts to USA Today.
“As part of our ongoing stakeholder engagement process, we recognize the importance of engaging in productive, ongoing dialogues with our investors to understand and address their concerns, as appropriate.”
As You Sow commissioned an independent laboratory test of Dunkin’ Donuts white powdered doughnuts in 2013. The key finding was that the doughnuts tested from Dunkin’ Donuts contained titanium dioxide nanomaterial. Due to the “extremely small dimensions” of the substance, the group claimed that insufficient evidence existed for the safety of ingesting such ingredients.
In a press release from As You Sow, the group praised Dunkin’ Donuts for taking the initiative to phase out titanium dioxide from their powdered doughnuts.
“This is a groundbreaking decision. Dunkin’ has demonstrated strong industry leadership by removing this potentially harmful ingredient from its donuts,” said As You Sow president, Danielle Fugere.
“Engineered nanomaterials are beginning to enter the food supply, despite not being proven safe for consumption. Dunkin’ has made a decision to protect its customers and its bottom line by avoiding use of an unproven and potentially harmful ingredient.”
Dunkin’ Donuts’ compliance comes after a period of expansion for the chain. The Inquisitr reported in January, 2014 that Dunkin’ Donuts planned on adding 800 new locations around the globe that year.
[Image courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts]