The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new test results that are part of their work to better understand and reduce potential exposure to PFAS from foods. They also shared an update on the progress of the voluntary market phase-out of certain short-chain PFAS used in food packaging.
- Total Diet Study Results
Results from the FDA’s most recent survey of the general food supply show that 89 of 92 food samples had no detectable levels of PFAS. Three seafood samples—tilapia, cod, and shrimp—had detectable levels of PFAS. The food samples analyzed were collected for the FY2021 regional collection of the Total Diet Study (TDS) and are the fifth set of general food supply testing done by the FDA. To date, there have been 10 samples with detectable PFAS out of 532 TDS samples the FDA has tested since 2019. Based on the best available current science, the FDA has no scientific evidence that the levels of PFAS found in the TDS samples tested to date indicate a need to avoid any particular food.
While the FDA found detectable levels of PFAS in certain seafood samples in this TDS survey, as in previous ones, the sample sizes are limited, and the results cannot be used to draw definitive conclusions about the levels of PFAS in seafood in the general food supply. The FDA’s previously announced targeted survey of commonly consumed seafood in the US is on-going and the results, expected later this year, will help the agency better understand the occurrence of PFAS in seafood and inform if additional sampling is needed.
- Analytical Method Extension
For this latest testing of food samples, FDA scientists extended their current analytical method from 16 to 20 types of PFAS. The additional four PFAS compounds have been reported in the literature predominantly in fish samples. This work builds on previous updates of the FDA’s analytical method and is part of our overall work to advance the science of testing for PFAS in foods. The extension to the method will be made available later this year.
- Market Phase-Out of Certain Short-Chain PFAS
In 2020, manufacturers of food contact substances containing short-chain PFAS with 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (6:2 FTOH) committed to a 3-year market phase-out of their sales of these substances to begin in 2021. The agreements followed the FDA’s post-market scientific review and analysis of data raising potential safety concerns.
The manufacturers also committed to providing the FDA with annual updates, the first of which would be submitted by January 31, 2022. They have received updates from each of the three companies and have posted them on their Authorized Uses of PFAS in Food Contact Applications webpage, within the Market Phase-Out of Certain Short-Chain PFAS section.