FDA Testing Reveals Low Occurrence of PFAS in Meat and Seafood

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Since 2019, the FDA has tested nearly 13,000 food samples for PFAS and developed new, validated methods for measuring 30 different PFAS in a diverse range of food types.

On April 18, the FDA shared test results for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in 95 samples from one regional collection from its Total Diet Study (TDS). PFAS were detected in eight samples — two beef and two cod samples, and one sample each of shrimp, salmon, catfish, and tilapia. The FDA concluded that exposure to PFAS at the levels measured in these eight samples is not likely to be a health concern for young children or the general population, based on evaluation of each PFAS for which there is a toxicological reference value. The agency stated that the data are consistent with previous TDS testing results that detected PFAS primarily in some meat and seafood samples, while the majority of previous TDS results were found not to detect PFAS. Per the FDA, no PFAS have been detected in over 97% (788 out of 813) of the fresh and processed foods tested from the TDS to date.

The FDA has been testing fresh and processed foods since 2019 to estimate dietary exposure to PFAS from the general food supply, with nearly 1,300 samples tested to date. This testing, which included a targeted survey to sample seafood, has so far indicated that seafood may be at higher risk for environmental PFAS contamination compared to other types of foods. “While the data on PFAS in seafood is still very limited, filter feeders, such as clams, but also other bivalve mollusks, including oysters, mussels, and scallops, may have the potential to bioaccumulate more environmental contaminants than other seafood types,” the FDA stated in its announcement. “We continue to pursue additional sampling of bivalve mollusks, including imported and domestic clams, as well as other seafood to better understand PFAS in the U.S. food supply.”

In the past five years, the FDA has also developed validated methods for testing for PFAS in increasingly diverse types of foods, publishing an updated analytical method to the FDA’s Foods Program Compendium of Analytical Laboratory Methods: Chemical Analytical Manual. This method includes the addition of 14 analytes to the existing 16 analytes, resulting in the ability to measure 30 PFAS in food and extending the method to include animal feed samples.

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