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Review article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Review: In vivo and postmortem effects of feed antioxidants in livestock: a review of the implications on authorization of antioxidant feed additives

Salami, S. A.; Guinguina, A.; Agboola, J. O.; Omede, A. A.; Agbonlahor, E. M.; Tayyab, U.


The pivotal roles of regulatory jurisdictions in the feed additive sector cannot be over-emphasized. In the European Union (EU), antioxidant substances are authorized as feed additives for prolonging the shelf life of feedstuffs based on their effect for preventing lipid peroxidation. However, the efficacy of antioxidants transcends their functional use as technological additives in animal feeds. Promising research results have revealed the in vivo efficacy of dietary antioxidants for combating oxidative stress in production animals. The in vivo effect of antioxidants is significant for enhancing animal health and welfare. Similarly, postmortem effect of dietary antioxidants has been demonstrated to improve the nutritional, organoleptic and shelf-life qualities of animal products. In practice, dietary antioxidants have been traditionally used by farmers for these benefits in livestock production. However, some antioxidants particularly when supplemented in excess could act as prooxidants and exert detrimental effects on animal well-being and product quality. Presently, there is no exclusive legislation in the EU to justify the authorization of antioxidant products for these in vivo and postmortem efficacy claims. To indicate these efficacy claims and appropriate dosage on product labels, it is important to broaden the authorization status of antioxidants through the appraisal of existing EU legislations on feed additives. Such regulatory review will have major impact on the legislative categorization of antioxidants and the efficacy assessment in the technical dossier application. The present review harnesses the scientific investigations of these efficacy claims in production animals and, proposes potential categorization and appraisal of in vivo methodologies for efficacy assessment of antioxidants. This review further elucidates the implication of such regulatory review on the practical application of antioxidants as feed additives in livestock production. Effecting these regulatory changes will stimulate the innovation of more potent antioxidant products and create potential new markets that will have profound economic impacts on the feed additive industry. Based on the in vivo efficacy claims, antioxidants may have to contend with the legislative controversy of either to be considered as veterinary drugs or feed additives. In this scenario, antioxidants are not intended to diagnose or cure diseases as ascribed to veterinary products. This twisted distinction can be logically debated with reference to the stipulated status of feed additives in Commission Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003. Nonetheless, it is imperative for relevant stakeholders in the feed additive industry to lobby for the review of existing EU legislations for authorization of antioxidants for these efficacy claims.


antioxidant; feed additive; legislation; oxidative stress; product quality

Published in

2016, Volume: 10, number: 8, pages: 1375-1390

      SLU Authors

    • Guinguina, Abdulai

      • Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)