Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed on the safety and efficacy of VevoVitall® (benzoic acid) as feed additive for pigs for fattening
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) received a request from the European Commission for authorisation of the product VevoVitall®, consisting of 99.9% benzoic acid in flaked form, to be used as a feed additive for pigs for fattening (category: zootechnical additives). EFSA was asked to deliver an opinion on the safety of VevoVitall® for the target animal, consumer, user and the environment, and on the efficacy of the product. Benzoic acid is proposed by the applicant to be used in pigs for fattening in order to decrease the urinary pH and to reduce ammonia emission in a dose range of 5000 to 10000 mg kg-1 complete feed. Benzoic acid has been previously authorized at Community level as ‘acidity regulator’ for pigs for fattening at levels 5000 to 10000 mg kg-1 complete feed. In a previous opinion of the SCAN (EC, 2002) it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence for a noticeable decrease in ammonia production. Five studies submitted provide evidence that both the lowest and the highest applied dietary levels of benzoic acid (5000 and 10000 mg kg-1) are effective in reducing urinary pH in pigs for fattening. Two of four feeding studies submitted provide evidence for a significant reduction of ammonia emission at the highest level of 10000 mg benzoic acid kg-1 diet, the lowest level being not effective in all studies. A reduction in urinary pH is not a recognised attribute of a feed additive and, in the view of the Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP), has no direct benefit per se. Since the relation between urinary pH and reduced ammonia emission is not adequately established, the FEEDAP Panel cannot conclude on the efficacy of benzoic acid to reduce the ammonia emission. On the basis of two tolerance studies the FEEDAP Panel concludes that 10000 mg benzoic acid kg-1 complete feed (the highest dose recommended by the applicant) is safe for pigs for fattening with a narrow margin of safety (less than 1.5). No new data were provided on the safety for the consumer, the user and the environment. The FEEDAP Panel confirms its former opinion, expressed when assessing benzoic acid for piglets (EFSA, 2005), that benzoic acid does not represent a risk for the consumer and the environment, and recommends appropriate labelling due to the potential to induce skin and eye irritation. The FEEDAP Panel does not see a need for specific requirements of post-market monitoring.