08 Apr 2021

Feed Additives Legislation

Regulation 1831/2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition

See Regulation 1831/2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition

Only authorised feed additives can be put on the market and used for animal feed in the EU. Regulation 1831/2003 lays down the procedure for the authorisation of feed additives and covers:

  • additives (including vitamins, colourants, flavourings, binders, coccidiostats, and non-antibiotic growth promoters) authorised for use in animal feed.
  • Information to be provided to purchasers on labels of feed additives and premixtures.

Information on both the EU and GB lists of authorised feed additives is provided in the section entitled “Associated legislation and guidance” below. 

The process for authorisation requires:

  • a scientific evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and;
  • European Commission authorisation, in agreement with Member States.

‘Feed additives’ means:-

substances, micro-organisms or preparations, other than feed material and premixtures, which are intentionally added to feed or water in order to perform, in particular, one or more of the functions mentioned in Article 5(3);

Regulation 1831/2003 states that a feed additive shall be allocated to one or more of the following categories, depending on its functions and properties:-

(a) technological additives: any substance added to feed for a technological purpose;

(b) sensory additives: any substance, the addition of which to feed improves or changes the organoleptic properties of the feed, or the visual characteristics of the food derived from animals;

(c) nutritional additives;

(d) zootechnical additives: any additive used to affect favourably the performance of animals in good health or used to affect favourably the environment;

(e) coccidiostats and histomonostats.

Regulation 2019/962 amends Annex I to Regulation 1831/2003 and establishes two new functional groups of feed additives:-

(a) other technological additives: substances or, when applicable, microorganisms added to feed for a technological purpose and which favourably affect the characteristics of the feed;

(b) physiological condition stabilisers: substances or, when applicable microorganisms, which, when fed to animals in good health, favourably affect their physiological condition, including their resilience to stress factors.

Regulation 1831/2003 also states that the feed additive shall:-

(a) favourably affect the characteristics of feed,

(b) favourably affect the characteristics of animal products,

(c) favourably affect the colour of ornamental fish and birds,

(d) satisfy the nutritional needs of animals,

(e) favourably affect the environmental consequences of animal production,

(f) favourably affect animal production, performance or welfare, particularly by affecting the gastro-intestinal flora or digestibility of feedingstuffs, or

(g) have a coccidiostatic or histomonostatic effect.

Antibiotics, other than coccidiostats or histomonostats, shall not be authorised as feed additives.     

Associated legislation and guidance

Commission Regulation 429/2008 provides detailed rules as regards the preparation and the presentation of applications and the assessment and the authorisation of feed additives.

Article 29 of Regulation 767/2009 amends the feed additive and premixture labelling requirements

The EU Register of Authorised Feed Additives provides information about the status of feed additives, the animals for which the feed additive has been authorised and the relevant conditions for use.

The GB Register of Feed Additives may be accessed via the following FSA webpages:

The GB Register may also be accessed directly on https://data.food.gov.uk/regulated-products

This electronic register is for information purposes and does not replace retained EU Regulation 1831/2003 which is the legal basis for the placing on the market and use of individual feed additives.  It sets out a list of feed additives permitted for use in Great Britain and provides reference to the individual feed additive legislation. 

The Guidance link within the Register helps with the familiarisation of the new layout and terminologies.

Regulation 892/2010 sets out that certain substances or product types are not feed additives within the scope of Regulation 1831/2003 (e.g. sodium carbonate and glucosamine).

As stated in Section 2, Commission Recommendation 25/2011 establishes guidelines for the distinction between feed materials, feed additives, biocidal products and veterinary medicinal products. This recommendation is not legally binding.

Commission Regulation No 230/2013 concerns the withdrawal from the market of certain feed additives belonging to the group of flavouring and appetising substances.

Commission Regulation No 2017/1145 also lists certain feed additives being withdrawn from the market.

The application of Regulation 1831/2003 in England is provided for by The Animal Feed (Composition, Marketing and Use) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015 No. 255).

The authorisation of the first 11 feed additives (‘Tranche’ 1) in GB has been confirmed and is applied, in England, through The Feed Additives (Authorisations) (England) Regulations 2022 No 1129.

The Feed Additives (Authorisations) (England) Regulations 2023 authorise thirteen feed additives in England, allowing them to be distributed and available on the market in England. Of the thirteen authorisations, ten consist of new authorisations, and three renewals (with changes either to the conditions of use, label requirements, formulation and / or for use with different animal species or their sub-groups). The instrument also includes transitional arrangements for one previously authorised feed additive to allow existing stocks to be depleted.

Separate but parallel legislation applies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The FSA website provides guidance on the following:-

  • Categories of feed additives;
  • Authorised additives;
  • Canthaxanthin;
  • Maximum levels of canthaxanthin in animal feed.

FEFANA has published the

“EU Code of practice on voluntary labelling particulars (claims) for feed additives and premixtures".