Ethyl acetoacetate encapsulated in gum arabic was administered in rodent diet for a minimum of 28 consecutive days to groups of 16 male and 16 female rats (Sprague-Dawley strain) at levels of approximately 100, 300 and 1000 mg/kg body weight/day. A further group of 16 male and 16 female rats was given rodent diet containing gum arabic as a control. The administration of ethyl acetoacetate in the diet did not adversely affect the growth or general health of the animals or their food intakes. None of the minor variations observed in the haematology, serum chemical analyses or urine analyses are considered to be indicative of a treatment-related toxic effect. Caecal enlargement was seen in male rats treated with the top dose of ethyl acetoacetate, but this was accompanied by a normal histopathology. Few histopathological abnormalities were observed. Proteinaceous casts were found in the bladder of approximately half the male rats given 1000 mg ethyl acetoacetate/kg, and nephrocalcinosis was a common occurrence in female rats in this dose group. Renal function was unimpaired in treated male and female rats, and the histopathological findings are common in the strain of rats chosen for this study. Although the caecal enlargement and the changes in kidney and bladder of rats given 1000 mg ethyl acetoacetate/kg are noted, it is considered that ethyl acetoacetate did not produce treatment-related adverse effects in rats during this study.