Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of ammonium formate, calcium formate and sodium formate when used as a technological additive for all animal species

EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP)

This opinion concerns the re-authorisation of ammonium, calcium and sodium formates as preservatives in feed for all animals and the use of ammonium and sodium formates as silage additives. Conclusions of the previous opinion on formic acid establishing safety for target species, consumer and environment are reiterated and extended to cover the calcium and sodium salts. No adverse effects are anticipated when these salts are used at the maximum proposed dose (pigs 12 000 mg; all other animal species 10 000 mg formic acid equivalents/kg feed or an equivalent dose in water for drinking). For ammonium formate, the presence of formamide is considered insufficient to guarantee the protection of reproduction animals. Evidence of its carcinogenic potential argues to avoid using ammonium formate in non-food-producing animals. The use of formic acid and sodium formate in animal nutrition is safe for the consumer. Use of ammonium formate in dairy animals and laying poultry raises concerns due to the potential exposure of consumers to formamide. Calcium and sodium formates are non-irritant to skin, but mildly irritant to eyes and respiratory irritants with a potential for sensitization. Liquid preparations of sodium formate/formic acid and ammonium formate/formic acid can act as preservatives in feed, with a potential to control growth of fungi and aerobic bacteria. However, the Panel has reservations about the effectiveness of organic acids as preservatives in feedingstuffs with a typical moisture content of ≤ 12 %. Pure calcium or sodium formate had no discernible effects on microbial numbers in the feed materials examined. A preservative effect of the three formate salts in water for drinking was not demonstrated. Sodium formate has a potential to improve the preservation of nutrients in silage prepared from easy, moderately difficult and difficult to ensile material. Efficacy of ammonium formate as silage additive was not demonstrated.

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(FEEDAP), EFSA: Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of ammonium formate, calcium formate and sodium formate when used as a technological additive for all animal species. 2015.

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