Safety of gaseous chlorine dioxide as a preservative slowly released in cold food storage areas

gaseous chlorine dioxide, ClO2, preservative, food, storage, safety
First published in the EFSA Journal
16. Februar 2016
26. Januar 2016
Scientific Opinion


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) provides a scientific opinion regarding the safety of use of gaseous chlorine dioxide as a preservative that is slowly released in cold food storage areas. Gaseous chlorine dioxide is generated from tubes that contain two reactants, which upon mixing slowly release gaseous chlorine dioxide. The tubes are to be used in cold storage rooms or in refrigerators for domestic use. In consideration of the reactive nature of gaseous chlorine dioxide, the Panel assessed to what extent chlorinated species are generated by the interaction of gaseous chlorine dioxide, under the proposed conditions of use, with some model food matrices. According to the applicant, the only by-products resulting from the proposed use of gaseous chlorine dioxide are chlorite and chlorate; therefore, the safety of these by-products has also been assessed. From the data provided by the applicant, under domestic refrigerator-like experimental conditions, the treatment of model food matrices with gaseous chlorine dioxide led to low amounts of by-products and did not produce chlorinated organic by-products. Chlorate was not detected in the model food matrices tested. Consequently, considering the negligible amounts in model food matrices of the parent compound and of its by-products chlorite and chlorate, together with the available toxicity database, the Panel concluded that, under the domestic refrigerator-like conditions of use proposed by the applicant, the consumption of foods treated with gaseous chlorine dioxide would not be a safety concern. The risk resulting from exposure of the consumer to chlorine dioxide by inhalation was not assessed, because this is outside the remit of the Panel. The Panel considered that a new assessment would be warranted in case of any change in the conditions of use.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Fernando Aguilar, Riccardo Crebelli, Alessandro Di Domenico, Birgit Dusemund, Maria Jose Frutos, Pierre Galtier, David Gott, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Claude Lambré, Jean-Charles Leblanc, Oliver Lindtner, Peter Moldeus, Alicja Mortensen, Pasquale Mosesso, Dominique Parent-Massin, Agneta Oskarsson, Ivan Stankovic, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen, Matthew Wright and Maged Younes.
Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2016;14(2):4388
Question Number
On request from
European Commission