Safety and efficacy of an essential oil from Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton when used as a sensory additive in feed for all animal species

sensory additives,flavourings compounds, essential oil, cardamom, Elettariacardamomum(L.) Maton, safety, combined margin of exposure
First published in the EFSA Journal
6. Juni 2019
14. Mai 2019
Scientific Opinion

Relevant information or parts of this scientific output have been blackened in accordance with the European Commission decision on the confidentiality requests formulated by the applicant. The full output has been shared with the European Commission, EU Member States and the applicant.


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA 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 an essential oil from the seeds of Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton when used as a sensory additive for all animal species. Characterisation of the essential oil identified 37 components accounting for > 99% of its composition, with terpineol acetate (> 35%) and 1,8‐cineole (> 20%) being the most prevalent compounds. In the absence of toxicological data of the feed additive itself, a component‐based approach was applied to assess the safety of the essential oil as a mixture. Based on structural and metabolic similarity, the components of cardamom oil were allocated to seven assessment groups. Assuming the absence of toxicologically relevant interactions among components, dose addition was applied within each assessment group by calculating the combined margin of exposure as a basis for risk characterisation. The FEEDAP Panel concluded that the additive under assessment is safe at the proposed use level of 5 mg/kg in feed for all animal species. A concentration of 5 mg/L water for drinking is considered safe for all animal species. The use of cardamom essential oil in animal feed is considered safe for the consumer. In the absence of studies, the Panel cannot conclude on the safety for the users when handling the additive. The use of the essential oil under assessment in animal production is not expected to pose a risk for the environment. Since the seeds of E. cardamomum and their preparations are recognised to flavour food and their function in feed would be essentially the same, no further demonstration of efficacy is considered necessary. The Panel made a recommendation to limit the content of methyleugenol in the oil.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Giovanna Azimonti, Vasileios Bampidis, Maria de Lourdes Bastos, Henrik Christensen, Birgit Dusemund, Maryline Kouba, Mojca Kos Durjava, Marta López‐Alonso, Secundino López Puente, Francesca Marcon, Baltasar Mayo, Alena Pechová, Mariana Petkova, Fernando Ramos, Yolanda Sanz, Roberto Villa and Ruud Woutersen.
Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed
feedap [at]
EFSA Journal 2019;17(6):5721
Question Number
On request from
European Commission