Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of betaine anhydrous as a feed additive for all animal species based on a dossier submitted by Danisco Animal Nutrition

Nutritional additive, vitamins and pro-vitamins, betaine anhydrous, safety
First published in the EFSA Journal
13 maggio 2013
17 aprile 2013
Scientific Opinion


Glycine betaine (betaine) acts as a methyl group donor in transmethylation reactions in organisms. Betaine occurs in numerous vertebrate tissues as an osmolyte, ensuring osmoprotection. Betaine is safe for piglets at the maximum supplementation rate of 2 000 mg/kg complete feed with a margin of safety below 5. This conclusion is extended to all pigs and extrapolated to all animal species and categories. The use of betaine as a feed additive up to a supplementation rate of 2 000 mg/kg complete feed is unlikely to pose concerns for consumer safety. Users’ inhalation exposure to betaine is expected to be minimal. Betaine anhydrous should be considered irritant to skin, eyes and mucous membranes and a skin sensitiser. It is likely to cause skin sensitisation. The supplementation of feed with betaine anhydrous does not pose a risk to the environment. Betaine has the potential to become efficacious in all animal species and categories when administered via feed or water for drinking. The FEEDAP Panel made some recommendations on (i) introduction of a maximum content for supplemental betaine in complete feed and water for drinking; (ii) avoidance of simultaneous use of betaine in feed and water for drinking; and (iii) avoidance of simultaneous inclusion of betaine and choline chloride in premixtures.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Gabriele Aquilina, Alex Bach, 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 2013;11(5):3209
Question Number
On request from
European Commission