Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on hydroxytyrosol, which is chemically synthesised, as a novel food (NF) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 258/97. The information provided on the composition, specifications, batch-to-batch variability, stability and production process of the NF is sufficient and does not raise concerns about the safety of the NF. The applicant intends to add hydroxytyrosol to fish and vegetable oils up to 215 mg/kg and to margarines up to 175 mg/kg. The target group is the general population which excludes children under 36 months of age, pregnant women and breastfeeding women. Considering the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 50 mg/kg body weight per day from a subchronic oral toxicity study with the NF and the maximum anticipated daily intake for the NF, the margin of exposure (MoE) would result in 100 for children (3–9 years of age) and at least 200 for adolescents, adults (excluding pregnant and breastfeeding women) and elderly. Taking into account that the anticipated daily intake of the NF would be in the range of or even less than the exposure of hydroxytyrosol from the consumption of olive oils and olives, which has not been associated with adverse effects, and considering the similar kinetics of hydroxytyrosol in rats and humans, the Panel considers that the MoE for the NF at the intended uses and use levels is sufficient for the target population. The Panel concludes that the novel food, hydroxytyrosol, is safe under the proposed uses and use levels.