Toxicology studies conducted with oil-soluble rosemary extracts to support authorization as a food additive (antioxidant) in the EU include an Ames test using a supercritical carbon dioxide extract (D74), a full 90-day study using D74 and an acetone extract (F62), and an investigative 90-day study with a 28-day recovery period (using D74 only). D74 was non-mutagenic in the Ames test. In the full 90-day study, where rats (20/sex/group) were either provided control diet or diets containing D74 (300, 600, or 2400 mg/kg) or F62 (3800 mg/kg), liver enlargement and hepatocellular hypertrophy were observed. To determine a mode of action and assess the reversibility of the hepatic effects, an investigative 90-day study was conducted using female rats (10/group receiving control diet or diet containing 2400 mg/kg D74). Liver enlargement was fully reversible after 28 days and microsomal enzyme analysis revealed reversible induction of cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP2A1, CYP2A2, CYP2C11, CYP2E1, and CYP4A), demonstrating that the hepatic effects were adaptive and of no toxicological concern. Therefore, the highest dietary concentrations were established as the NOAELs. The investigative 90-day study NOAEL (providing 64 mg/kg bw/day carnosol and carnosic acid [the primary antioxidant components]) was used to establish a temporary ADI for rosemary extracts.
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