Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of formic acid when used as a technological additive for all animal species

formic acid, preservative, silage additive, all animal species, safety, efficacy
First published in the EFSA Journal
2 October 2014
11 September 2014
Scientific Opinion


This opinion concerns the re-authorisation of formic acid for use as a preservative in feed and water for drinking and as a silage additive in feed for all animal species and categories. No adverse effects are to be anticipated when formic acid is used at the maximum proposed dose in feed for pigs (12 000 mg formic acid/kg complete feed), poultry or ruminants (10 000 mg formic acid/kg complete feed). A margin of safety could not be identified. These conclusions are extrapolated to other animal species at a maximum dose of 10 000 mg formic acid/kg complete feed. Considering that the turnover of formic acid is rapid, with no evidence of accumulation in body tissues, its use in animal nutrition is not expected to contribute to consumer exposure. Therefore, the use of formic acid as a feed additive in all animal species is considered safe for the consumer. Formic acid at concentrations greater than 10 % is considered to be corrosive to skin and eyes. The acid is volatile, and exposure via inhalation for those handling the additive, as well as exposure to skin and eyes, is considered to present a risk to unprotected workers. The FEEDAP Panel considers that the use of formic acid in animal nutrition is safe for the environment. Formic acid at the recommended concentrations inhibits bacterial growth in feedingstuffs and water for drinking, and is recognised as an efficacious silage additive.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Gabriele Aquilina, 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 2014;12(10):3827
Question Number
On request from
European Commission