Revision of maximum authorised content of copper in feed


copper requirements, copper in feed, interactions/incompatibilities, gut microbiota, antimicrobial resistance, maximum copper content in feed, safety
First published in the EFSA Journal
9 August 2016
13 July 2016
Scientific Opinion
The Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) reviewed (i) the copper requirements of food-producing and pet animals, (ii) the copper concentration in feed materials and complete feed, (iii) the copper bioavailability, and (iv) the calculated background copper concentration of complete feed. Also considered were (i) the influence of dietary copper on gut microbiota profile and on the bacterial antibiotic resistance in target animals and (ii) the environmental occurrence of bacterial heavy metal tolerance (copper resistance) and resistance to certain antibiotics. The data collected supported the possibility of a reduction in some of the currently authorised maximum contents (CAMC) for total copper in feed. The EFSA Panel developed an algorithm to derive newly proposed maximum contents (NPMC) from the requirement and the native dietary copper content. The NPMC (mg Cu/kg complete feed) comprised of maintained (m), decreased (d) and increased (i) values: 15 for bovine before the start of rumination (m), 30 for other bovine (d), 35 for caprine (i), 15 for ovine (m), 50 for crustacean (m) and 25 for other animal species ((d) for piglets up to 12 weeks, (m) for all other species). The NMPC support health, welfare and economic productivity of target animals, except piglets; performance of weaned piglets would be impacted. The NPMC values would not likely have any consequences on the consumers’ intake of copper and are of no concern for the safety of the consumer. The reduction from 170 mg to 25 mg Cu/kg feed piglets would have the capacity to save 1,200 tonnes copper/year being spread in the field and thus, to reduce total copper emissions from farm animal production by about 20%. Thus, the reduction of the CAMC to the NPMC would have a significant impact on the concentrations of copper in the environment of piggeries.
Panel members at the time of adoption
Gabriele Aquilina, Giovanna Azimonti, Vasileios Bampidis, Maria de Lourdes Bastos, Georges Bories, Andrew Chesson, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, Gerhard Flachowsky, Jürgen Gropp, Boris Kolar, Maryline Kouba, Secundino Lopez Puente, Marta Lopez-Alonso, Alberto Mantovani, Baltasar Mayo, Fernando Ramos, Guido Rychen, Maria Saarela, Roberto Edoardo Villa, Robert John Wallace and Pieter Wester
Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed
feedap [at]
EFSA Journal 2016;14(8):4563 [100 pp.].
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