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Scientific Opinion on safety and efficacy of zinc compounds (E6) as feed additive for all animal species: Zinc oxide, based on a dossier submitted by Grillo Zinkoxid GmbH/EMFEMA

EFSA Journal 2012;10(11):2970[24 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2970
  EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) Panel Members Gabriele Aquilina, Alex Bach, Vasileios Bampidis, Maria De Lourdes Bastos, Gerhard Flachowsky, Josep Gasa-Gasó, Mikolaj Gralak, Christer Hogstrand, Lubomir Leng, Secundino López-Puente, Giovanna Martelli, Baltasar Mayo, Derek Renshaw, Guido Rychen, Maria Saarela, Kristen Sejrsen, Patrick Van Beelen, Robert John Wallace and Johannes Westendorf. Acknowledgment The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Trace Elements, including Noël Albert Dierick, Jürgen Gropp, Joop de Knecht, Alberto Mantovani, and the late Reinhard Kroker, for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion. Contact FEEDAP@efsa.europa.eu
Type: Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel On request from: European Commission Question number: EFSA-Q-2011-00844 Adopted: 15 November 2012 Published: 23 November 2012 Affiliation: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Abstract

Zinc oxide is a safe source of zinc for all animal species and no concerns for consumer safety are expected from the use of zinc oxide in animal nutrition, considering the maximum contents for total zinc in feedingstuffs set by EU legislation. Zinc oxide is not an irritant to skin and eyes; it is not a skin sensitiser. The zinc oxide under application is considered a compound with high dusting potential, which may result in a critical exposure of users by inhalation, affecting the respiratory system. The authorised use of zinc oxide as a feed additive does not pose a direct concern for the agricultural soil compartment. However, there is a potential environmental concern related to groundwater, drainage and the run-off of zinc to surface water. Acid sandy soils are most vulnerable to these processes. In order to draw a final conclusion, some further refinement to the assessment of zinc-based feed additives in livestock needs to be considered, for which additional data would be required. The use of zinc-containing additives in aquaculture up to maximum authorised zinc level in feeds is not expected to pose an appreciable risk to the environment. Zinc oxide is efficacious in meeting animal zinc requirements.

© European Food Safety Authority,2012

Summary

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 the safety and efficacy of zinc oxide when used as feed additive for all animal species.

The FEEDAP Panel concluded that zinc oxide is a safe source of zinc for all animal species, considering the maximum contents for total zinc in feedingstuffs set by EU legislation.

No concerns for consumer safety are expected from the use of zinc oxide in animal nutrition when used up to the EU maximum authorised level in feed.

Zinc oxide is not an irritant to skin and eyes; it is not a skin sensitiser. The zinc oxide under application is considered a compound with high dusting potential, which may result in a critical exposure of users by inhalation, affecting the respiratory system.

The authorised use of zinc oxide as a feed additive does not pose a direct concern for the agricultural soil compartment. However, there is a potential environmental concern related to groundwater, drainage and the run-off of zinc to surface water. Acid sandy soils are most vulnerable to these processes. In order to draw a final conclusion, some further refinement to the assessment of zinc-based feed additives in livestock needs to be considered, for which additional data would be required. The use of zinc-containing additives in aquaculture up to maximum authorised zinc level in feeds was not expected to pose an appreciable risk to the environment.

Zinc oxide is efficacious in meeting animal zinc requirements.

The FEEDAP Panel made some recommendations (i) on the specification of zinc oxide, and (ii) on the direct incorporation of zinc oxide into compound feedingstuffs.

Keywords

Nutritional additive, compounds of trace elements, zinc, zinc oxide, safety, environment, efficacy