Dunkin’ Donuts, like so many fast food and fast casual brands, is trying to increase its transparency by getting rid of a lot of the unnecessary chemicals in its food. Dunkin’ just announced that the company will no longer be utilizing titanium dioxide, a whitening agent that has been used in the doughnuts’ powdered sugar, and that some advocacy groups claim can be toxic.According to Nation’s Restaurant News, Dunkin’ Donuts disagrees, but the company has still agreed to pull the chemical, a nanoparticle, after a shareholder request from the group As You Sow.
What are nanoparticles? They are substances so tiny, that they can easily be absorbed through the skin, lungs, or digestive tracts. Nanoparticles have varying degrees of toxicity, but according to OSHA, “Titanium dioxide nanoparticles have higher mass-based potency than larger particles, and that occupational exposure (by inhalation)…should be considered a potential occupational carcinogen.”
"The ingredient used in our powdered donuts does not meet the definition of “nanomaterial” as outlined under FDA guidance," Dunkin' Donuts representatives said in a statement on the matter. "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."