Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of benzyl alcohols, aldehydes, acids, esters and acetals (chemical group 23) when used as flavourings for all animal species

Sensory additives, flavourings, phenyl ethyl alcohols, phenyl acetic acids, related esters, phenoxyacetic acids and related esters, chemical group 23, benzyl alcohol, 4-isopropylbenzyl alcohol, p-anisyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, 4-methoxy benzaldehyde
First published in the EFSA Journal
24 July 2012
13 June 2012
Scientific Opinion


Chemical group 23 consists of benzyl alcohols/aldehydes/acids/esters/acetals, of which 36 are currently authorised for use as flavours in food. The use of the following is safe for all animal species: benzyl alcohol, benzoic acid and benzylacetate at the maximum of 125 mg/kg complete feed; benzylaldehyde, vanillin, gallic acid and benzylpropionate at the maximum of 25 mg/kg complete feed; 4-isopropylbenzyl alcohol, veratraldehyde, 4-isopropylbenzylaldehyde, p-tolualdehyde, benzylbutyrate, benzylformate, benzylisobutyrate, benzylisovalerate, benzylphenylacetate, methylbenzoate, ethylbenzoate, ethylsalicylate, methylsalicylate, isopentylbenzoate and isobutylbenzoate at the maximum of 5 mg/kg complete feed; p-methoxybenzaldehyde, p-anisylalcohol, p-anisylacetate, salicylaldehyde, 2-methoxybenzaldehyde, isopentylsalicylate, hexylsalicylate, isobutylsalicylate, benzylsalicylate and pentylsalicylate at the maximum of 1 mg/kg complete feed; benzylhexanoate, benzylcinnamate and benzylbenzoate at a maximum calculated use levels of 1.5 mg/kg complete feed for cattle, salmonids and non food-producing animals and 1.0 mg/kg complete feed for pigs and poultry; for piperonal the corresponding figures are 0.5 and 0.3 mg/kg complete feed. No safety concerns arise for the consumer following the use of benzoates, benzyl derivatives and salicylates up to the highest safe level in feedingstuffs for all animal species. Gallic acid, vanillin, veratraldehyde, p-anisylalcohol and p-anisylacetate are not expected to generate residues of safety concern when used in feedingstuffs for mammals and gallic acid in feedingstuffs for poultry. The lack of data for the other compounds in poultry and fish precludes an assessment of consumer exposure from these sources. For piperonal, no conclusion can be drawn on the safety for the consumer on the use of this substance in animal nutrition. All compounds should be considered as irritants to skin, eyes and respiratory tract, skin sensitisers and harmful if swallowed. The compounds do not pose a risk to the environment when used at concentrations considered safe for the target species. Since all compounds are used in food as flavourings, no further demonstration of efficacy is 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, the late 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 2012;10(7):2785
Question Number
On request from
European Commission