Food samples clear FDA tests for PFAS  

By David Fairfield, Senior Vice President, Feed

New test results posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 30 showed almost no instances of chemical contaminating the food supply. 

FDA’s most recent analysis of 94 samples of a variety of food products collected in fiscal year 2020 found only one sample of cod to have detectable levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) – two types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  In addition, FDA determined that the PFAS levels found in the cod sample do not present a human health concern.

The results are part of FDA’s ongoing efforts to better understand the occurrence of PFAS in the food supply. PFAS are a diverse group of human-made chemicals used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products. The ability of PFAS to remain intact can result in increasing levels of contamination in ground water and soil. Accumulation of certain PFAS also has been shown through blood tests to occur in humans and animals. While the science surrounding potential health effects of this bioaccumulation of certain PFAS is developing, FDA has indicated that evidence suggests it may cause serious health conditions.

The foods tested in FDA’s recent analysis represent a range of human foods that are in the general food supply and are representative of the major components of the average U.S. diet, based on national food consumption survey data. The samples were not specifically collected from areas of known environmental PFAS contamination. No animal foods were sampled as part of the study, but the human foods tested included those derived from animals and grain products. 

FDA states the recent testing results are similar to results found in previous analyses, which showed most samples do not have detectable levels of PFAS, with the exception of the cod sample in this testing and from previous testing, two tilapia and one ground turkey sample. To better understand the occurrence of PFAS in seafood, FDA is conducting a targeted survey of the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S., including both cod and tilapia.