Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of potassium sorbate as a silage additive for all animals except dogs and cats

technological additives, silage additives, potassium sorbate, efficacy, safety
First published in the EFSA Journal
9 July 2013
18 June 2013
Scientific Opinion

Potassium sorbate is intended to be used as a technological additive to improve the ensiling process in the range of 90 to 300 mg/kg fresh material. The application of potassium sorbate in the preparation of silage up to the maximum proposed dose of 300 mg/kg forage is safe for the target animals. The additive, when used in silage, is not expected to increase substantially consumer exposure to potassium sorbate. Therefore, the FEEDAP Panel concludes that potassium sorbate, when used as a silage additive, is safe for consumers of food products from animals fed treated silage. Potassium sorbate is a skin and eye irritant and a potential irritant to the respiratory tract. Potassium sorbate is not regarded as a skin sensitiser. The dusting potential of the preparation tested indicates that exposure of users via inhalation is possible. In view of the irritancy of potassium sorbate and the absence of information on its inhalation toxicity, exposure to such dust is considered hazardous. There are no safety concerns for the environment resulting from the use of potassium sorbate as a silage additive. Seven laboratory-scale ensiling studies were reported, each lasting at least 90 days and using forages of different origins. Once silos were opened, aerobic stability was determined. Potassium sorbate has the potential to improve aerobic stability of silage with dry matter content between 21 and 38 % when used at the minimum concentration of 90 mg/kg fresh material.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Gabriele Aquilina, Alex Bach, Vasileios Bampidis, Maria De Lourdes Bastos, Lucio Guido Costa, Gerhard Flachowsky, Mikolaj Antoni Gralak, Christer Hogstrand, Lubomir Leng, Secundino López-Puente, Giovanna Martelli, Baltasar Mayo, Fernando Ramos, Derek Renshaw, Guido Rychen, Maria Saarela, Kristen Sejrsen, Patrick Van Beelen, Robert John Wallace and Johannes Westendorf
Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed
EFSA Journal 2013;11(7):3283 [12 pp.].
Question Number
On request from
European Commission