The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has re-assessed the feed additive ethoxyquin, and has been unable to conclude on its safety for certain groups of animals, consumers and the environment.
Until 2017, ethoxyquin was authorised in the EU as a feed additive for all animal species and categories, because of its antioxidant properties and its use in preventing the spontaneous combustion of fish meal during transportation by sea.
The presence of p-phenetidine, an impurity that remains in the additive after the manufacturing process, is a possible mutagen, meaning the experts of EFSA’s Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) could not rule out risks to animals with a long-life expectancy and those reared for reproduction. By contrast, the additive is considered safe for animals that are reared for meat production, such as chicken, pigs, cattle, rabbits and fish.
Due to the lack of data on the presence of p-phenetidine in tissues and food products of animal origin, the experts could not draw a conclusion for consumers either. FEEDAP highlighted the need to minimise users’ exposure via inhalation due to the presence of this impurity in the additive.
When the additive is used in terrestrial animals, experts could not conclude on the safety of ethoxyquin for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. A risk for contamination via the aquatic food chain could not be excluded, as well as the risk for marine sediment-dwelling organisms exposed to ethoxyquin when used in sea-cages.
Source: EFSA, 3 March 2022