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Food Additives

Risk assessment of the synthetic antioxidant butylhydroxytoluene (BHT)

Report no:

Ordered: 01.09.2017

Publishing: 23.09.2019

Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) evaluates whether the synthetic antioxidant butylhydroxytoluene (BHT) poses a risk to the Norwegian population.

VKM will also indicate potential vulnerable groups and point to the most important sources of exposure.

VKM has prepared a protocol to describe the methodology to be used for assessing risk.

Download the protocol.PDF

BHT has many applications

BHT is used in feed, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food contact materials. BHT is also approved as food additive (E321).

BHT has previously been assessed by e.g. the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In 2012, EFSA established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of BHT based on effects on reproductive effects.

ADI is the amount of a substance amount that can be ingested on a daily basis over a lifetime without an appreciable health risk. The ADI for BHT is 0.25 mg/kg body weight per day.

To our knowledge, risk assessments including exposure estimates for BHT from all sources and exposure pathways, have not been performed. As there is extensive use of BHT and thus exposure to BHT, there is a need for an updated risk assessment for the Norwegian population.

VKM itself has initiated the risk assessment.

The Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food and Cosmetics of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment is responsible for the assessment.

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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Responsible editor: Ingrid M. Høie