Levels of synthetic antioxidants (ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole) in fish feed and commercially farmed fish

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2010 Dec;27(12):1652-7. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2010.508195.


Several synthetic antioxidants are authorized for use as feed additives in the European Union. Ethoxyquin (EQ) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are generally added to fish meal and fish oil, respectively, to limit lipid oxidation. The study was conducted to examine the concentrations of EQ, BHT and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) in several commercially important species of farmed fish, namely Atlantic salmon, halibut and cod and rainbow trout, as well as concentrations in fish feed. The highest levels of BHT, EQ and BHA were found in farmed Atlantic salmon fillets, and were 7.60, 0.17 and 0.07 mg kg(-1), respectively. The lowest concentrations of the synthetic antioxidants found were in cod. The concentration of the oxidation product ethoxyquin dimer (EQDM) was more than ten-fold higher than the concentration of parent EQ in Atlantic salmon halibut and rainbow trout, whereas this dimer was not detected in cod fillets. The theoretical consumer exposure to the synthetic antioxidants EQ, BHA and BHT from the consumption of farmed fish was calculated. The contribution of EQ from a single portion (300 g) of skinned fillets of the different species of farmed fish would contribute at most 15% of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for a 60 kg adult. The consumption of farmed fish would not contribute measurably to the intake of BHA; however, a 300 g portion of farmed Atlantic salmon would contribute up to 75% of the ADI for BHT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Aquaculture
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole / analysis*
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene / analysis*
  • Diet
  • Ethoxyquin / analysis*
  • Fish Oils / analysis
  • Fishes*
  • Flounder
  • Food Preservatives / analysis
  • Food Safety
  • Gadus morhua
  • Norway
  • Salmon
  • Seafood / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Fish Oils
  • Food Preservatives
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole
  • Ethoxyquin