U.S – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has shared testing results for PFAS in 186 samples from the TDS, detecting PFAS in two cod and two shrimp samples, as well as in single samples of tilapia, salmon, and ground beef.
However, the levels of PFAS found in these samples are not likely to pose a health concern for young children or the general population, according to the agency’s assessment of toxicological reference values (TRVs).
These findings align with previous results, where over 97 percent of the tested fresh and processed foods showed no detectable PFAS.
The agency has been conducting consistent testing on fresh and processed foods since 2019 to estimate dietary exposure to PFAS.
Currently, FDA has tested nearly 800 samples from various food sources, including those collected for the Total Diet Study (TDS) and targeted assignments.
With ongoing testing, FDA is taking steps to expedite its schedule by increasing laboratory capacity.
While data on PFAS in seafood remains limited, FDA testing suggests that seafood may be more susceptible to environmental PFAS contamination compared to other food types.
FDA determined that, aside from canned clams from China, no other PFAS exposures with TRVs are likely to raise human health concerns.
For canned clams, voluntary recalls were initiated by two companies, and FDA continues to conduct testing on a limited number of import shipments and domestic products.
Filter feeders such as clams, along with other bivalve mollusks like oysters, mussels, and scallops, have the potential to accumulate higher levels of environmental contaminants.
As a result, FDA plans to conduct further sampling of imported and domestic bivalve mollusks to gain a better understanding of PFAS in commercially available seafood.
Teaming up with seafood industry
FDA encourages the seafood industry to consider PFAS contamination in their products and comply with applicable regulations to ensure seafood safety.
If a detectable level of PFAS in a food raises safety concerns, FDA will work with manufacturers to address the issue and prevent the product from entering or remaining in the U.S. market.
The FDA aims to foster a safe and nutritious seafood supply and will engage with the industry to enhance understanding of PFAS in commercial seafood, including testing practices, sources of PFAS, and potential mitigation strategies.
Additionally, the agency offers technical assistance to help laboratories expand their capabilities to test for PFAS in seafood.
Advancing the science of PFAS testing in foods
To identify the types of PFAS tested in food, FDA reviews scientific literature and prioritizes PFAS based on their expected presence in food and the availability of chemical standards for accurate identification.
Since 2019, the FDA has expanded its testing methodology, adding more PFAS to its analysis.
In 2023, the agency further expanded its testing to include 30 types of PFAS. The revised method will be publicly shared later this year.
FDA is also advancing research by utilizing high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify additional types of PFAS in foods beyond the ones currently included in testing. This will contribute to future targeted testing methods.
As part of its technical assistance to states, FDA is engaged in research to understand how PFAS is absorbed by plants and how concentrations vary between different plant parts. It is optimistic that this research will help reduce PFAS exposure from food.