Safety of astaxanthin for its use as a novel food in food supplements

Harry J McArdle, Frank Thies, EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA)

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34 Citations (Scopus)
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Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on the safety of astaxanthin when used as a novel food in food supplements at maximum levels of 8 mg/day, taking into account the overall cumulative intake of astaxanthin from all food sources. In 2014, the NDA Panel assessed the safety of the novel astaxanthin-rich ingredient derived from microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis in the context of an application submitted under Regulation (EC) No 258/1997. In that opinion, the NDA Panel considered that the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for astaxanthin was 0.034 mg/kg body weight (bw) set by the EFSA FEEDAP Panel in 2014. In 2019, the FEEDAP Panel adopted an opinion which concerned the renewal of the authorisation of dimethyldisuccinate-astaxanthin and a new use of the additive for crustaceans and other fish than salmonids. In that assessment, the FEEDAP Panel derived a new ADI of 0.2 mg astaxanthin/kg bw which replaced the ADI of 0.034 mg/kg bw established in 2014. By taking into account an updated exposure assessment for astaxanthin from the background diet (fish and crustaceans) in combination with 8 mg from food supplements, the NDA Panel concludes that (i) such combined exposure to astaxanthin is safe for adults, (ii) 14 to < 18 years old adolescents reach the ADI, and (iii) the ADI is exceeded by 28% in children aged 10 to < 14 years and up to 524% in infants aged 4-6 months.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5993
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEFSA Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


  • Astaxanthin
  • Xanthophylls
  • Carotenoids
  • Acceptable daily intake
  • ADI
  • carotenoids
  • xanthophylls
  • Haematococcus pluvialis
  • acceptable daily intake
  • astaxanthin


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