Safety of vitamin D3 addition to feedingstuffs for fish

nutritional additive, vitamins and pro-vitamins, vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, fish, safety
First published in the EFSA Journal
1 March 2017
25 January 2017
Scientific Opinion


During 2012–2014, the EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) issued three opinions on the safety and efficacy of vitamin D3 for all animal species and concluded that no safety concern was identified for the use of vitamin D3 for fish at the maximum authorised content of 0.075 mg/kg feed. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority made available to the Commission some studies on the safety of vitamin D3 for fish and consumers at substantially higher levels (1.5 mg/kg feed) than those proposed by EFSA. The European Commission asked EFSA to review the information provided to estimate if it would be possible to increase the current levels of vitamin D3 in feed for fish. The increasing use of plant-based feed materials in aquaculture feeds could induce a decrease in vitamin D3 content in feedingstuffs. However, there is no evidence that the current total (background + supplemented) maximum EU content of vitamin D3 may cause any appreciable risk of deficiency in salmonids. The possible contribution of vitamin D2 in plant-based ingredients to the total vitamin D intake is considered to be low, although it cannot be reliably estimated. The FEEDAP Panel concludes that a total level of 1.5 mg vitamin D3/kg compound feed is safe for salmonids with a margin of safety of at least 10. For other fish, insufficient data are available to conclude on the safety of a total level of 1.5 mg vitamin D3/kg feed. Although the assessment of safety for the consumer is impaired by uncertainties concerning the transfer of vitamin D3 from feed to fish flesh, it was concluded that an increase of total vitamin D content in fish feeds up to 1.5 mg/kg feed would not lead the tolerable upper intake level to be exceeded even in high consumers.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Gabriele Aquilina, Giovanna Azimonti, Vasileios Bampidis, Maria de Lourdes Bastos, Georges Bories, Andrew Chesson, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, Gerhard Flachowsky, Jürgen Gropp, Boris Kolar, Maryline Kouba, Marta López-Alonso, Secundino López Puente, Alberto Mantovani, Baltasar Mayo, Fernando Ramos, Guido Rychen, Maria Saarela, Roberto Edoardo Villa, Robert John Wallace and Pieter Wester.
Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed
feedap [at]
EFSA Journal 2017;15(3):4713
Question Number
On request from
European Commission