Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of taurine as a feed additive for all animal species
Taurine is a beta-amino acid, not incorporated into proteins. Taurine is involved in a number of physiological processes. In cats, dietary taurine at requirement/allowance levels is safe with a margin of safety of between 4 and 20. The few data available for carnivorous fish indicate that levels between 2.0 % and 2.5 % are safe. It is further concluded that up to 0.2 % taurine in feed is tolerated by all animal species. The FEEDAP Panel estimates the observed safe level in humans to be 6 g/person per day (corresponding to 100 mg/kg body weight per day). Exposure resulting from the consumption of foodstuffs and ‘energy drinks’ together would amount to about one-third of the observed safe level. Population oral exposure data include taurine from foodstuffs of animal origin, such as animal tissue and products, resulting from feed supplementation. However, exposure resulting from this source is estimated to be low since, to the knowledge of the FEEDAP Panel, the use of taurine as a feed additive is mainly restricted to cats and dogs. The use of taurine as a feed additive for all animal species would not raise concerns about consumer safety. In the absence of data, taurine is considered to be a skin and eye irritant and skin sensitiser, and to be hazardous if inhaled. A risk to the environment resulting from the use of taurine in animal nutrition is not foreseen. Synthetic taurine is considered efficacious for use in cat, dog and carnivorous fish diets. In the case of poultry, pigs and ruminants, no studies demonstrating beneficial effects of taurine supplementation on performance, health or product quality have been found. In laying hens, dietary supplementation with 0.25–0.5 % taurine has been shown to have an adverse effect (reduced egg weight).