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  • Avv. Paola Corte

Food safety: new limits for PFAS as contaminants


The EU set limits for PFAS as contaminants in food.

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs),

are substances used in many commercial and industrial applications. They include

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS),

  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA),

  • perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and

  • perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)

CONTAMINATION

The environmental contamination with these products is widespread and it extends to food. The main causes of exposure are bioaccumulation in aquatic and terrestrial food chains and the use of PFAS in food contact materials.

EFFECTS ON HEALTH

In 2020 EFSA adopted a scientific opinion and concluded that PFAS can cause developmental effects, and may have adverse effects on serum cholesterol, the liver and the immune system, and birth weight.

EFSA established a group tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 4,4 ng/kg body weight per week for the sum of PFOS, PFOA, PFNA and PFHxS.

REGULATION (EU) 2022/2388

sets maximum levels of perfluoroalkyl substances in certain foodstuffs. It adds a Section 10 to the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006, which sets limits for these substances in eggs, fishery products, crustaceans and several types of meat.

Applicability

The Regulation will be applicable starting January 1, 2023. Food that was lawfully placed on the market before the date of application of the Regulation, will be allowed to remain on the market until the date of minimum durability or use-by date.

Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food and may be present in food as a result of environmental contamination or due to the the various stages of the food's production, packaging, transport or holding. 

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