News last update:6 Aug 2012

Salmon pigment authorised as feed additive

The European Commission has authorised the use of astaxanthin dimethyldisuccinate – a carotenoid pigment – as a feed additive. This pigment is already used to make the flesh of farmed salmon and trout appear orangey-pink.

The official authorisation appeared in the Official Journal of the European Union today (1 May). The European Food Safety Authority last year concluded that use of the additive has no adverse effect on animal health, human health or the environment.

But the regulation stipulates that if it is mixed with canthaxanthin – another carotenoid – the total concentration of the mixture should not exceed 100 grams per kilo in fish-feed. In 2003 the EU limited permitted levels of canthaxantin following health fears linking use of the carotenoid pigment to eye defects.

In addition to be being used to colour the flesh of farmed salmon and trout canthaxantin is also used to make chicken skin and egg yolks appear more yellow. Authorisation takes effect 20 days after the publication of the regulation in the 1 May edition of the EU's Official Journal.

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