BASF finds replacement for ethoxyquin in vitamin product

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock

Related tags European union European commission Aquaculture

German company, BASF, has released a vitamin A formulation that includes an alternative to ethoxyquin for use in livestock and fish feed.

Butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) now replaces ethoxyquin (EQ) as a stabilizer in its Lutavit A NXT formulations, which comprise vitamin A incorporated in a finely dispersed form in a matrix of gelatine and carbohydrates.

The chemical giant said the reformulation move was prompted by EU legislative developments. Last month saw the European Commission formally suspend​ existing authorization for ethoxyquin, awaiting final safety data on the antioxidant.

BASF said the Lutavit NXT product line, which it is launching globally, comprises three formulations that can be used in pet, ruminant, poultry and pig applications.

Two of those products can also be used in aquaculture applications, it added.

Stability and homogeneity of BHT line 

Christopher Rieker, vice president of BASF Animal Nutrition, told us the extensive reformulation process started in 2015.

"BASF has not changed the particle size distribution of the products, so homogeneity is comparable to our predecessor products, maintaining our very high quality standards.

“Extensive shelf-life and stability tests have been done; results show superior stability to competitor products without EQ,”​ he added.

BASF would not release the data supporting those test results though.

Last October, the company also unveiled plans to build a new world-scale plant for vitamin A in Ludwigshafen, in Germany. It is set to come on stream in 2020.

The new facility will increase BASF’s total annual production capacity of vitamin A by 1,500 metric tons.

Ethoxyquin was originally developed by the rubber industry to prevent rubber from cracking because of the oxidation of isoprene. Because of its high antioxidant efficiency and stability, it was further developed for use as a preservative in feeds as it protects lipids against peroxidation and stabilizes fat-soluble vitamins (A and E).

As a feed additive, it is primarily used as an antioxidant in canned pet food and in farmed fish or poultry diets.

It is also used to prevent spontaneous combustion of fishmeal, which is very sensitive to oxidation, during transportation by sea. Indeed, it is a legal requirement of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to add ethoxyquin to fish meal during transportation.

Ethoxyquin is awaiting a final risk assessment on its safety by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), following its earlier opinion​ on the antioxidant back in 2015.

The Commission may still decide to uphold the authorization​ of the additive.

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