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E.U. - EFSA re-evaluates calcium formate for use as a preservative in feed for all animal species and categories

The European Food Safety Authority Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed has completed a re-evaluation of calcium formate for use as a preservative in feed for all animal species and categories, including fish. The panel determined that no adverse effects on target animals safety are anticipated when calcium formate is used at the maximum proposed dose.

November 19, 2014

Calcium formate is currently authorized for use as a preservative in feed for all animal species, but is not authorized as a food additive in the EU. 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) has completed a re-evaluation of calcium formate for use as a preservative in feed for all animal species and categories. Based on the results of the tolerance studies with chickens for fattening and cattle for fattening, and other published studies, the panel determined that no adverse effects on target animals safety are anticipated when calcium formate is used at the maximum proposed dose in feed for pigs, poultry, fish and ruminants (15,000 mg calcium formate/kg complete feed, equivalent to 10,000 mg formic acid/kg complete feed). 

However, EFSA said no margin of safety could be established. 

This conclusion can be extrapolated to other animal species provided the maximum dose applied does not exceed 15,000 mg calcium formate/kg complete feed. 

The contribution of calcium formate to the calcium supply of animals should be considered when formulating diets. 

Considering that the turnover of formate is rapid, with no evidence of accumulation in body tissues, neither calcium nor formate concentrations will increase in the edible tissues of animals maintained on feed with calcium formate added and, therefore, the use of calcium formate as a feed additive in all animal species is considered safe for the consumer. Calcium formate is non-irritant to skin but causes severe adverse effects in eyes. It is likely that handling the additive could result in skin reactions and in the production of respirable dust that could present a risk to unprotected workers. The use of calcium formate in animal nutrition is safe for the environment. 

The studies in which antimicrobial inhibitory effects of calcium formate were observed in pure cultures of four different bacterial species and a study concerning the preservative effect of calcium formate in six preservation trials do not provide convincing evidence of the efficacy of the additive when used as a preservative for compound feed or feed materials.

(Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of calcium formate when used as a technological additive for all animal species. EFSA Journal 2014;12(11):3898 [2 pp.].   doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2014.3898  

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