Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of allylhydroxybenzenes (chemical group 18) when used as flavourings for all animal species

Sensory additives, flavourings, allylhydroxybenzenes, chemical group 18, eugenol, eugenyl acetate, 1-methoxy-4-(prop-1(trans)-enyl)benzene, trans-anethole, 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol
First published in the EFSA Journal
2 December 2011
15 November 2011
Scientific Opinion


Eugenol, eugenyl acetate, 1-methoxy-4-(prop-1(trans)-enyl)benzene (trans-anethole) and 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol are flavouring substances belonging to chemical group 18, defined as ‘allylhydroxybenzenes’. All four additives are currently authorised for use as flavours in food and are naturally found in various herbs and plants. The use of eugenol and eugenyl acetate in fish is contra-indicated. The range of use levels 5–25 mg/kg feed for eugenol and trans-anethole proposed by the applicant is safe for all animal species (other than fish), with a low margin of safety (2 to 6). For 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol and eugenyl acetate, the proposed range of use levels 1–5 mg/kg feed is safe for all animal species (other than fish), with a higher margin of safety (10 to 30). The use of eugenol, eugenyl acetate, trans-anethole and 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol as flavours in mammals up to the highest use levels proposed in feed is safe for the consumer. However, the lack of data on metabolism and residues in poultry precludes an assessment of consumer exposure from this source. No data on the safety for the user was provided. The applicant indicated possible effects of eugenol on the respiratory system. Eugenol and 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol are also described as irritating to eyes and skin, and eugenyl acetate as a skin irritant. Both eugenol and trans-anethole may cause skin sensitisation. The impact on the environment from the use of eugenol, eugenyl acetate, trans-anethole and 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol in animal feed is expected to be low. Since eugenol, eugenyl acetate, trans-anethole and 4-allyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol are used in food as flavourings, and their function in feed is essentially the same as that in food, no further demonstration of efficacy is considered necessary.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Gabriele Aquilina, Georges Bories, Andrew Chesson, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, Joop de Knecht, Noël Albert Dierick, Mikolaj Antoni Gralak, Jürgen Gropp, Ingrid Halle, Christer Hogstrand, Reinhard Kroker, Lubomir Leng, Secundino López Puente, Anne-Katrine Lundebye Haldorsen, Alberto Mantovani, Giovanna Martelli, Miklós Mézes, Derek Renshaw, Maria Saarela, Kristen Sejrsen and Johannes Westendorf
Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed
EFSA Journal 2011;9(12):2440
Question Number
On request from
European Commission