Food safety body sets new PFAS consumption limits

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

PFAS are most often found in eggs and egg products, as well as drinking water, fish and fruit
PFAS are most often found in eggs and egg products, as well as drinking water, fish and fruit

Related tags: Fresh produce, Supply chain, Regulation, Food safety

A new consumption threshold for perfluoroalkyls (PFAS) has been set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in response to the latest scientific evidence and feedback.

The threshold – a group tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 4.4 nanograms per kilogram of body weight per week – is part of a scientific opinion on the health risks posed by these substances in food.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals manufactured and used globally in industries including textiles, household products and electronics as well as food processing.

EFSA claims exposure to the chemicals may lead to adverse health effects. People can be exposed in different ways, including through food consumption, where PFAS are most often found in drinking water, fish, fruit, eggs, and egg products.

The four PFAS that EFSA’s assessment focused on are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS).

Toddlers and children most exposed

Toddlers and other children are the most exposed population groups, say EFSA scientists, and exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding is the main contributor to PFAS levels in infants.

Experts considered the decreased response of the immune system to vaccination to be the most critical human health effect when determining the TWI. This differs from EFSA’s previous opinion on PFAS from 2018, which used increased cholesterol as the main critical effect.

The 2018 opinion set separate TWIs for PFOS and PFOA, but EFSA has re-evaluated these substances considering more recent scientific knowledge and has followed its recent guidance for assessing combined exposure to multiple chemicals​.

Feedback

The latest scientific opinion addresses the feedback received from scientific organisations, citizens, and competent authorities in EU member states during a two-month consultation between February 2020 and April 2020​.

EFSA’s scientific advice is intended to support risk managers in their decisions on how best to protect consumers from exposure to PFAS through food.

PFAS can enter food through contaminated soil and water used to grow the food or through the concentration of such substances in animals via feed and water. They can also contaminate food via food packaging containing PFAS, or processing equipment containing PFAS.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Food safety metal detector for brand protection

Food safety metal detector for brand protection

Thermo Fisher Scientific | 18-Sep-2020 | Technical / White Paper

White paper explores Selectscan, a food-grade metal detector foreign object detection technology for better food and consumer safety.

Modern ERP system enables food waste reduction

Modern ERP system enables food waste reduction

Epicor | 05-Sep-2019 | Technical / White Paper

We’re all becoming increasingly aware and mindful of wastage in our personal lives. Food waste is already a significant concern for the food and beverage...

Related suppliers

comments

Post your comment

We will not publish your email address on the website

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars