Dunkin' Donuts plans to remove titanium dioxide, a food coloring agent, from all powdered sugar, Dunkin' Brands said Thursday.
The move, first reported by Dow Jones, is the latest among large restaurant chains, including McDonald's and Subway, to ditch ingredients that have drawn criticism from consumers.
Titanium dioxide is a common ingredient in items in the U.S. and is permitted in certain quantities as a food coloring in the U.S. by the FDA. Dunkin's decision follows As You Sow's shareholder proposal that Dunkin remove titanium dioxide nanoparticles used in its white powdered donuts.
But Dunkin disagrees with the group's characterization of the ingredient as a nanoparticle.
"The ingredient used in our powdered donuts does not meet the definition of 'nanoparticle' as outlined under FDA guidance," Dunkin' Brands spokeswoman Karen Raskopf said in a statement. "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 FDA has said it "does not categorically judge all products containing nanomaterials or otherwise involving the application of nanotechnology as intrinsically benign or harmful."
Clarification: An earlier version contained a typo in the name of the shareholder group who pushed for the removal of nanoparticles from Dunkin's white powdered donuts.