The three recent EU directives which fixed maximum permitted levels (MPL) for food additives for all member states also include the general obligation to establish national systems for monitoring the intake of these substances in order to evaluate their use safety. In this work, we considered additives with primary antioxidant technological function for which an acceptable daily intake (ADI) was established by the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF): gallates, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and erythorbic acid. The potential intake of these additives in Italy was estimated by means of a hierarchical approach using, step by step, more refined methods. The likelihood of the current ADI to be exceeded was very low for erythorbic acid, BHA and gallates. On the other hand, the theoretical maximum daily intake (TMDI) of BHT was above the current ADI. The three food categories found to be main potential sources of BHT were "pastry, cake and biscuits", "chewing gums" and "vegetables oils and margarine"; they overall contributed 74% of the TMDI. Actual use of BHT in these food categories is discussed, together with other aspects such as losses of this substance in the technological process and percentage of ingestion in the case of chewing gums.