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FDA Releases Statement on PFAS in Food and Reveals Findings from Food Sample Tests

On June 11, Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless released a statement highlighting recent agency efforts to better understand the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food and providing findings from recent tests of food samples in the United States.  In presenting the initial results of the testing, which focused on foods from specific geographic areas with known environmental contamination, Sharpless affirmed that FDA “does not have any indication that these substances are a human health concern, in other words a food safety risk in human food, at the levels found in this limited sampling.”

PFAS, which is a catch-all term for a family of human-made substances known for their grease, water, and oil-resistant properties, are widely used in a variety of everyday products such as fabrics, cleaning products, and paints. They are also authorized for a limited number of uses in cookware and certain food packaging applications.  PFAS have been the subject of increased scrutiny among environmental groups and certain states.

Of the 91 samples evaluated from the 2017 FDA Total Diet Study (TDS), 14 contained PFAS. The safety assessments undertaken for these 14 samples indicated no human health concern, based on analysis of the level of PFAS found in that food, consumption of that food, and the most current toxicological information available for PFAS.  Sharpless’ announcement comes one week after FDA updated its website to include information on PFAS in the food supply and the agency’s newly formed PFAS working group.  The agency plans to continue to work with states to develop testing methods and capacities and to increase the baseline knowledge of PFAS levels in foods.

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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...