Safety and efficacy of an essential oil from Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum (Link) letsw. var. Vulkan when used as a sensory additive in feed for all animal species

Origanum vulgare, essential oil, carvacrol, consumer safety, target animal safety, environment,efficacy
First published in the EFSA Journal
18 December 2017
29 November 2017
Scientific Opinion


Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on an essential oil from Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum var Vulkan (DOS 00001) when used as a sensory feed additive for all animal species. Analysis of the oil identified 34 components accounting for > 99% of the oil, with carvacrol being the most prevalent (> 60%). Five tolerance studies in three species (chickens for fattening, weaned piglets and dairy cows) were made to assess the safety for the target species. The recommended use level of 150 mg additive/kg feed was shown to be safe for chickens for fattening and weaned piglets and this conclusion is extended to all poultry and porcine species grown for meat production. A dose of 500 mg additive/head and day (equivalent to ~ 25 mg/kg complete feed) was also demonstrated safe for the dairy cow. The Panel concluded that since the recommended use level differs between the dairy cow and the non-ruminants tested the lower use level of 25 mg additive/kg feed could be applied to all target animals not included above. Residue studies (meat, liver, fat milk and eggs) showed that the exposure of consumers to products from animals given the additive at the recommended use level did not raise safety concerns. The additive should be considered as an irritant to skin and eyes, and to have a potential for sensitisation of susceptible individuals. Use in animal production of the essential oil extracted from O. vulgare is not expected to pose a risk for the environment. Since oregano and its extracts is recognised to flavour food and its function in feed would be essentially the same as that in food, no further demonstration of efficacy is considered necessary.

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, Marta López-Alonso, Secundino López Puente, 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 2017;15(12):5095
Question Number
On request from
European Commission
This scientific opinion has been amended according to the confidentiality claim made by the applicant. The modified sections are indicated in the text.