Safety and efficacy of iron oxide
Iron oxides are intended to be used as colourings to add and restore colour to feedingstuffs at a recommended concentration between 500 and 1,200 mg/kg. No data on the tolerance of target animals were provided. The iron oxides are excreted essentially unchanged in the faeces of the target animals. Iron absorption from these water insoluble iron oxides is low. However, no conclusion on the safety of the iron oxides under assessment for the target animals could be made as a sufficient biological and toxicological database, particularly genotoxicity data, was not available.
The use of the iron oxides in animal nutrition is unlikely to result in a direct exposure of the consumer and would not influence the iron content of edible tissues and products from animals treated with iron oxides. Consequently, the supplementation of feed for food-producing animals with the iron oxides under assessment would not provide a risk to consumers.
Iron oxide should be considered as irritant to skin and eyes. In the absence of any information, the Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed FEEDAP cannot conclude on the potential of the additives to be a skin sensitiser. As the inhalation of iron oxides could cause unspecific lung inflammation, inhalation exposure of users should be considered to be a hazard. As there is concern about the possible genotoxicity of iron oxides, any route of exposure should be considered as hazardous. The use of iron oxide in animal nutrition does not pose a risk to the environment. The iron oxides are effective in colouring feedingstuffs.
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