Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of iron compounds (E1) as feed additives for all animal species: ferrous carbonate based on a dossier submitted by Ankerpoort N.V.
Iron from iron-containing additives is safe in feed up to a maximum content of 250 mg/day for piglets up to one week before weaning, 450 mg/kg for bovines and poultry, 500 mg/kg for ovines, 600 mg/kg for pets and 750 mg/kg for other species/categories, except horses and fish. It was not possible to derive a maximum safe iron concentration in feed for horses or fish; as a provisional measure, the current value (750 mg/kg) could be maintained. Iron from ferrous carbonate is unlikely to modify iron concentration in edible tissues/products of animal origin; therefore, no concern for consumer safety was identified resulting from the use of ferrous carbonate in animal nutrition, provided the maximum iron content in complete feedingstuffs is respected. Owing to the presence of nickel, the additive should be regarded as a dermal and respiratory sensitiser. Ferrous carbonate should be considered as irritant to skin and eyes and to the respiratory tract. The handling of this additive is considered to be a risk by inhalation. Ferrous carbonate is generally less bioavailable than ferrous sulphate; whilst for adult animals ferrous carbonate might be efficacious, it would be insufficiently bioavailable for young animals—which require a highly efficacious iron source for a rapid response in haemoglobin synthesis. The Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) recommends that the currently authorised maximum iron content in feed be reduced for bovines and poultry from 750 to 450 mg Fe/kg, and for pets from 1250 to 600 mg Fe/kg. The Panel proposes the name of Iron(II) carbonate (siderite) to reflect the mineral nature and variability in composition and bioavailability of the ferrous carbonates from ores.