News 1773 views update:Mar 9, 2016

EFSA opinion on the safety and efficacy of zinc compounds

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 zinc compounds as feed additives for all animal species.

The opinion includes: zinc acetate, dihydrate; zinc chloride, anhydrous; zinc oxide; zinc sulphate, heptahydrate; zinc sulphate, monohydrate; zinc chelate of amino acids, hydrate; and zinc chelate of glycine, hydrate.

Safe sources

The FEEDAP Panel concludes that all the zinc compounds under application are safe sources of zinc for all animal species/categories when used up to maximum European Union-authorised zinc levels in complete feed. The simultaneous use of both feed and water supplemented with zinc should be avoided.

Zinc and the environment

The use of the zinc compounds under the current application as feed additives does not pose an immediate concern for the agricultural soil compartment. However, there is a potential environmental concern related to drainage and the runoff of zinc to surface water; the most vulnerable to these processes are acidic sandy soils. In order to draw a final conclusion, some further refinements to the assessment of zinc-based feed additives in livestock need to be considered, for which additional data are required. With the adoption of the newly proposed maximum zinc contents in animal feeds, the risk to the environment, from the use of zinc-containing feed additives, would be greatly reduced.

According to the FEEDAP Panel, the zinc compounds under the current application are efficacious in meeting animal zinc requirements.

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