Safety and efficacy of benzoic acid for pigs and poultry

sensory additives, flavouring compounds, benzoic acid, safety, efficacy, pigs, poultry
First published in the EFSA Journal
8 March 2018
22 February 2018
Scientific Opinion


The Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) was asked by the European Commission to deliver a scientific opinion on the safety and efficacy of benzoic acid as feed flavouring for piglets (suckling, weaned), pigs for fattening, sows (for reproduction, in order to have benefit in piglets), minor porcine species, chickens (for fattening, reared for laying), hens (laying, breeding), turkeys (for fattening, for breeding purposes, reared for breeding) and minor poultry species. Benzoic acid is safe for weaned piglets at 2,500 mg/kg feed, and for laying hens, turkeys and chickens for fattening at 500 mg/kg feed; no conclusions could be drawn for suckling piglets and sows. The conclusions on weaned piglets can be extended to pigs for fattening and extrapolated to growing minor porcine species. The conclusions on chickens/turkeys for fattening can be extended to chickens reared for laying and turkeys reared for breeding and extrapolated to minor poultry species up to the point of lay. In the absence of safety margin in laying hens, no conclusions can be reached for minor poultry species for laying/breeding. The use of the additive is not expected to pose a risk to consumer, considering that the additive is rapidly metabolised with very low deposition, if any, in edible tissues of pigs and poultry and that foods of animal origin provide a very minor contribution, if any, to the overall dietary intake of benzoic acid. Owing to the unlikelihood of exposure, no risk to users upon inhalation of the additive is expected; the additive is not a skin sensitiser, but is a skin/ eye irritant. The proposed use of the additive does not pose environmental risks. Benzoic acid is authorised as food flavouring and its function in feed is essentially the same; no further demonstration of efficacy is 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 2018;16(3):5210
Question Number
On request from
European Commission