EFSA: Scientific Opinion on the use of cobalt compounds as additives in animal nutrition
Adopted: 11 November 2009
According to Regulation (EC) No 790/2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, cobalt dichloride and cobalt sulfate are of low acute toxicity (category 4), but are classified as respiratory and skin sensitizers (category 1), as acute and chronic toxicants to the aquatic environment (category 1) and as presumed human carcinogens by the inhalatory route (class 1B). Cobalt(II) cations are also considered genotoxic under in vitro and in vivo conditions.
In the light of the above properties of cobalt and since several cobalt compounds are authorised by EU legislation as feed additives, a risk assessment of the use of cobalt compounds in animal nutrition was undertaken considering (i) the necessity of cobalt supplementation for the target species including potential adverse effects of minimising/withdrawing cobalt supplementation on animal health, (ii) the safety for consumers of foods from animals treated with cobalt salts, and (iii) the safety of persons handling cobalt compounds as feed additives.
Monogastric animals (excluding horses and rabbits) do not require cobalt but they require vitamin B12. Consequently, there is no need for any cobalt supplementation to their feed.