EFSA weighs up safety and efficacy of cinnamon bark and leaf oil along with L-lysine sources

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/peepo
© GettyImages/peepo

Related tags essential oils lysine

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published scientific opinions on essential oils and on amino acids this month.

Three forms of L-lysine deemed efficacious for non-ruminants 

Concentrated liquid L-lysine, L-lysine HCl and concentrated liquid L-lysine HCl are considered an efficacious source of the essential amino acid L-lysine for non-ruminant animal species, finds the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

“For the supplemental L-lysine to be as efficacious in ruminants as in non-ruminant species, it would require protection against degradation in the rumen,”​ said EFSA’s FEEDAP Panel.

The experts were asked by the EU Commission to deliver a scientific opinion on the efficacy and safety of additives consisting of three forms of lysine: concentrated liquid L-lysine (minimum 50% L-lysine), solid L-lysine monohydrochloride (minimum 78% L-lysine), and concentrated liquid L-lysine monohydrochloride (minimum 22.4% L-lysine), produced by Escherichia coli NITE BP-02917, for all animal species.

The products are produced by French company, Metex NoovistaGo.

Their intended use is in feed for all animal species as nutritional and as sensory additives in terms of flavoring. EFSA also determined that all three were efficacious as feed flavoring compounds under the proposed conditions of use.


The panel found​ the production strain did not carry antimicrobial resistance genes and no viable cells of the production strain were detected in the final products. Since no sequences of concern remained in the production strain, the potential presence of that DNA did not raise safety concerns, they said.

The experts concluded the use of the three forms of L‐lysine in feed is safe for the target species. This conclusion would also cover sensory applications, said the EFSA team. The products use in animal nutition is considered safe for the consumers and for the environment.

The specialists notes risks of nutritional imbalances and hygienic concerns for amino acids when administered simultaneously in feed and in water for drinking.

EFSA also reported on its findings​ of its assessment of the safety and efficacy of L‐lysine monohydrochloride and L‐lysine sulfate produced by Corynebacterium glutamicum CGMCC 17927, when used as a nutritional additive in feed and water for drinking for all animal species. The applicant in question is Barentz Animal Nutrition. 

Spotlight on essential oils 

Additionaly, EFSA released its opinion in relation to its assessment of the safety and efficacy of essential oils from the bark and the leaves of Cinnamomum verum ​J. Presl when used as sensory additives in feed and water for drinking for all animal species.

Cinnamon bark and leaf oil from C. verum​ J. Presl may be produced from plants of different geographical origins and by various processes resulting in preparations with different composition and toxicological profiles, reported the Parma-based EU food and feed risk assessor.

Therefore, the panel stressed that its conclusions​ apply only to cinnamon bark oil which contains ≤ 0.34% safrole, ≤ 0.04% methyleugenol and ≤ 0.024% styrene and to cinnamon leaf oil which contains ≤ 1.09% safrole, ≤ 0.30% methyleugenol and ≤ 0.013% styrene, which are obtained by steam distillation of the bark and the leaves of C. verum​, respectively.

Owing to the presence of styrene in the essential oils under assessment, the evaluators said they were unable to determine the safety of both products for animals with a long production cycle or reproductive animals.

They released their findings, however, for animals with a short production cycle:

The panel concluded that the use of cinnamon bark oil is considered as safe up to the maximum proposed use levels in complete feed of 5 mg/kg for broilers, 25 mg/kg for fattening pigs, 50 mg/kg for piglets, 10 mg/kg for beef cattle, 5 mg/kg for rabbits, salmonids, and other fin fish. The use of the additive in water for drinking is considered as safe for those animals provided that the total daily intake of the additive does not exceed the daily amount that is considered safe when consumed via feed.

It also found the use of cinnamon leaf oil is safe up to the maximum proposed use levels in complete feed of 40 mg/kg for broilers and other poultry, 50 mg/kg for turkeys for fattening, for fattening pigs and beef cattle, 25 mg/kg complete feed for salmonids and other fin fish, and for other minor species. The proposed use level in water for drinking of 3 mg/L is considered as safe for those animals, except fish.

The team did not identify any concerns for consumers regarding their prescribed use in feed.

However, the essential oils under assessment should be considered as irritant to skin and eyes, and as dermal and respiratory sensitizers, they cautioned. And, based on the presence of safrole ≥ 0.1%, cinnamon leaf oil and bark oil are classified as carcinogen and need to be handled accordingly, reads the opinion.

The use of cinnamon bark and leaf oil in animal feed under the proposed conditions is not expected to pose a risk for the environment, according to the panel.

Since such essential oils are already recognized as food flavors, the scientists said their function in feed would be similar and thus the specialists said no further demonstration of efficacy was required.

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