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Dunkin' Donuts to remove titanium dioxide from its powdered doughnuts

Dunkin' Donuts to remove titanium dioxide from its powdered doughnuts
A customer enters a Dunkin' Donuts store in midtown Manhattan in July 2011 in New York City. (Ramin Talaie / Getty Images)

Dunkin' Donuts will change its powdered doughnut recipe so it no longer includes titanium dioxide, a whitening agent, according to a statement Tuesday from a Dunkin' Brands official.

The change comes after an environmental advocacy organization said it found titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the white powdered sugar used in Dunkin's doughnuts based on independent laboratory tests in 2013.

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Titanium dioxide is also used in sunscreen.

As You Sow, an Oakland-based group, said the small size of nanomaterials makes it more likely to enter cells, tissues and organs and cause damage.

The Food and Drug Administration does not have a broad stance on products containing nanomaterials, saying it would make safety judgments on an individual basis.

The Canton, Mass.-based doughnut company said the titanium dioxide used in their products "does not meet the definition of 'nanomaterial' as outlined under FDA guidance," according to a statement from Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer for Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts.

She said the company began testing "alternative formulations" for the doughnut in 2014.

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