Citric acid is a common preservative in food, but the effectiveness as a preservative in feed and water for animals has not been sufficiently demonstrated yet. This was stated by the Feedap, part of Efsa.
The feed additives expert panel (Feedap) was asked by the European Commission to deliver a scientific opinion on the safety and efficacy of citric acid as a preservative in feed and water for drinking for all animal species.
Some trials in animal species
Specific tolerance studies were not available for the target species. Nevertheless, in a number of published studies referenced by the applicant and from other sources, trials were carried out in different animal species (poultry, pigs, ruminants) and with dietary concentrations of citric acid higher than the highest proposed typical use level.
Safe dosages in feed and water
Although the studies showed some limitations, no negative impacts on mortality, health or performance characteristics were reported in any of these studies, when used up to 30,000 mg citric acid/kg complete feedingstuffs and the corresponding concentration in water for drinking (10,000 mg citric acid/L).
The Feedap Panel concludes that the additive is, consequently, also safe for the target species at the proposed conditions of use of 15,000 mg citric acid/kg complete feedingstuffs and 5,000 mg citric acid/L in water for drinking. The quality of available data, however, does not allow a margin of safety to be derived. Nevertheless, Feedap has reservations about the effectiveness of organic acids as preservatives in feedingstuffs with a typical moisture content of ≤ 12 %.
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