The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control has banned the use of ethoxyquin as an antioxidant in the feed of food-producing animals in Nigeria.
According to the policy released by the agency, the use of ethoxyquin as an antioxidant in the feed of animals is responsible for a range of health-related animals in both animals and humans.
When food comes in contact with air, light, and heat, the oxygen interacts with the lipids in the food to produce oxidants or free radicals. This reaction is called lipid autoxidation.
Lipid autoxidation is a cascade phenomenon ensuring continuous delivery of oxidants or free radicals, which initiate peroxidation.
This results in food rancidity which manifests itself as the change of taste, scent, and colour and a decrease in the shelf life of the product.
Antioxidants (natural or synthetic) are usually used to slow down or stop this process and in consequence to preserve the freshness of the product.
Ethoxyquin is one of the best-known feed antioxidants for domestic animals and fish. Its unquestionable advantages are its high antioxidant capacity and its low production costs.
However, some of the authors have suggested that it is responsible for a wide range of health-related problems in dogs as well as in humans. E.g. cancer.
Given the foregoing, therefore, the use of ethoxyquin as an antioxidant in the feed of food-producing animals is banned.
What you should know
Different processes may occur during the storage of animal feed which alters their natural properties.
Lipids (fats in feed), for example, undergo a chemical reaction when exposed to the oxygen in the atmosphere where they start producing oxidants or free radicals. When it keeps occurring, the process is called lipid peroxidation.
Ethoxyquin or EQ is widely used in animal feed to protect it from lipid peroxidation.
It cannot be used in any food for human consumption but it can pass from feed to farmed fish, poultry, and eggs, so human beings can be exposed to this antioxidant.