Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

EFSA speaks on flavouring compounds and preservatives in animal feed

EFSA's feed safety panel, FEEDAP, has recently published two scientific opinions: one on the use of phenol derivatives in animal feed, and on the use of acetic acid, calcium acetate and sodium diacetate.

Phenol derivatives as flavour compounds in animal feed
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on safety and efficacy of 16 phenol derivatives containing ring-alkyl, ring-alkoxy and side-chains with an oxygenated functional group (CG 25) when used as flavouring compounds in animal feed.

All 16 compounds are currently authorised for use as flavours in food.

The flavouring compounds are calculated to be safe for all animal species at a maximum level of 5 mg/kg complete feed.

This value supports the highest proposed use level for 13 of the 16 compounds with the margin of safety of approximately 1 to 5 for pigs and poultry, the most sensitive species.

This safe level is substantially below the maximum proposed use level for all species for thymol and carvacrol (125 mg/kg complete feed) and for 3-methoxyphenol (25 mg/kg complete feed).

This concentration should be appropriately reduced when used in water for drinking.

The panel concludes that the use of any of the 16 compounds included in CG 25 at the maximum proposed use level in animal feed would not raise safety concerns for consumers of animal products.

No new data on the safety for the user was provided. However potential hazards for skin and eye contact and respiratory exposure of various severity are recognised for all of the compounds included in CG 25.

The panel expects that at the use level safe for all target species (5 mg/kg feed), the 16 compounds included in CG 25 do not pose a risk for the environment.

Since all 16 compounds include in CG 25 are used in food as flavourings and their function in feed is essentially the same as that in food, no further demonstration of efficacy was considered necessary.

Acetic acid, calcium acetate and sodium diacetate preservatives
FEEDAP was also asked to deliver a scientific opinion on an application for the re-authorisation of acetic acid, calcium acetate and sodium diacetate when used as a preservative in feed and for a new use of acetic acid as preservative in water for drinking.

Acetic acid (E260) and its calcium (E263) and sodium salts (sodium diacetate E262) are presently listed in the EU Register of Feed Additives as preservatives for use with feed for all animal species without restrictions.
Acetic acid, calcium acetate, and sodium diacetate also have a well established history of use in food where they are considered safe at any concentration consistent with their intended physical, nutritional or other technical effect.
They are also widely used in human and veterinary medicine, cosmetics, as plant protection agents and in a variety of household products as buffering agents or because of their anti-microbial properties.
Acetic acid and its salts are considered equivalent when compared on a molar basis.
The panel concluded, based on the comparison between consumer exposure to acetic acid and target animals exposure and the limited experimental data available for chickens and the dogs fed diets containing acetic acid or its salts, that a maximum concentration of 2,500 mg acetic acid/kg complete feed (or 1000 mg/L water for drinking) is safe for poultry, pigs and pet animals.
The known high endogenous production of acetic acid in the ruminants shows that the tolerance of these target animals is considerably higher.
No data is available for salmonids.
Considering the complete and rapid metabolism of acetic acid and its salts, their use in animal nutrition is not expected to contribute to human exposure.
Acetic acid and its salts are bulk industrial chemicals and the hazards for those handling these substances are well known and documented.
Acetates are normal components of the diet of humans and animals and are produced in molar quantities daily in the gastrointestinal tract where they are rapidly and completely metabolised.
Consequently the FEEDAP Panel concludes that the use of acetic acid, calcium acetate or sodium diacetate in animal production would not pose a risk to the environment.
Acetic and its salts have the potential to act as preservatives in feedingstuffs and water for drinking.
The FEEDAP Panel has some reservations about the effectiveness of acetic acid and its salts as preservatives in dry feedingstuffs with a typical moisture content of ≤ 12  %. However, it is recognised that during storage the moisture content of all or part of the feed may rise above this level.
Under these circumstances, the additive could be effective in preventing or reducing the extent of deterioration.
  • For more EFSA FEEDDAP scientific opinions go to EFSA:FEED

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