Safety of use of oat lecithin as a food additive

oat lecithin, E 322, food additive
First published in the EFSA Journal
27. Januar 2020
10. Dezember 2019
Scientific Opinion


The EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF) provides a scientific opinion on the safety of oat lecithin for use as a new food additive in the proposed food category (FC05.1) ‘cocoa and chocolate products’. Oat lecithin is an oil, containing polar lipids (≥ 35% w/w) and non‐polar lipids (55–65% w/w),obtained by ethanol extraction and subsequent fractionation (water/ethanol) from oat suitable for food consumption. This lecithin does not meet the specification parameter for the authorised food additive lecithins (E 322) of ‘not less than 60% of substances insoluble in acetone’ which represents the polar lipid content (phospholipids and glycolipids). Oat lecithin is expected to undergo hydrolysis in the gastrointestinal tract and this hydrolysis resembles that of other edible vegetable oils. Oat lecithin did not induce gene mutations or structural chromosomal aberrations in the absence or presence of metabolic activation. No treatment‐related adverse effects were observed with oat lecithin in 28‐day studies in rats and dogs at the highest dose tested. The toxicological database for oat lecithin was limited. Considering the composition of oat lecithin (similar components in different ratio) and the fact that it undergoes the same biotransformation, resulting in similar metabolites as those from lecithins (E 322) re‐evaluated by the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (EFSA ANS) in 2017, the Panel considered the possibility to use the read‐across approach from toxicological data on lecithins (E 322). Based on the toxicological data provided for oat lecithin along with read across from lecithins (E322) to oat lecithin no additional toxicological data were required. Therefore, the Panel considered that the previous conclusion for lecithins (E322) equally applies to oat lecithin to be used as food additive. Mean exposure ranged from < 0.01 mg/kg bw per day in infants to 7.1 mg/kg bw per day in children. The 95th percentile of exposure ranged from 0 mg/kg bw per day in infants to 22.5 mg/kg bw per day in children. The Panel concluded that there is no need for a numerical ADI and there is no safety concern for oat lecithin to be used as a food additive at the proposed use (FC 05.1) and use levels. The Panel recommended that the European Commission considers including specifications for oat lecithin as a new food additive.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Gabriele Aquilina, Laurence Castle, Karl‐Heinz Engel, Paul Fowler, Maria Jose Frutos Fernandez, Peter Fürst, Rainer Gürtler, Ursula Gundert‐Remy, Trine Husøy, Wim Mennes, Peter Moldeus, Agneta Oskarsson, Romina Shah, Ine Waalkens‐Berendsen, Detlef Wölfle and Maged Younes.
Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2020;18(1):5969
Question Number
On request from
European Commission