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August 30 2022

New EU recommendation on monitoring Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food and feed including methods of sampling and analysis

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On the 26th August 2022, the Recommendation (EU) 2022/1431 on Monitoring the presence of perfluoroalkyl substances – PFAS in food has been released.

Perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) are chemical pollutants that are harmful to health, and are mainly ingested via water and food. The contamination of food with these substances is mainly the result of bioaccumulation in aquatic and terrestrial food chains, and of the use of food contact materials containing PFASs.

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and their salts are the PFASs which are found in food and in humans in the highest concentration and have been widely used industrially due to their chemical and thermal stability. These substances are very persistent in the environment. Although they are no longer used, bioaccumulation has occurred in aquatic and terrestrial environments, contributing to human exposure to these pollutants.

EFSA issued an opinion in 2020 establishing an acceptable tolerable intake of PFASs, based mainly on protecting against the effects of these substances on the immune system..

On the basis of EFSA’s recommendations, the EC wants to set limits for PFASs in certain foods. This will entail an amendment to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006, setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs.

On 26 August 2022, the EC has published Recommendation (EU) 2022/1431 on the monitoring of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in certain foodstuffs.

The EC recommends Member States to monitor during the years 2022-2025 the presence of PFASs in food, especially in: fruits, vegetables, starchy roots and tubers, seaweed, cereals, nuts, oilseeds, food for infants and young children, foods of animal origin, non-alcoholic drinks, wine and beer.

Member States, in collaboration with food business operators, should collect information on concentrations of PFASs in raw and processed products from the same batch of raw products and determine processing factors for various processed products, in particular, cheese, whey powder, egg yolk, fine bakery wares with a high egg content and meat products containing liver.

Further investigation of the causes of the contamination should be carried out when the following indicative levels are exceeded:

Type of food – Indicative levels

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS); Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA); Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA); Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS).

Member States, which have the analytical capability to analyse PFASs in feed, should also monitor PFASs in feed. Member States as yet lacking that required analytical capability should validate analytical methods for PFASs in feed.

In order to ensure the reliability and consistency of official controls on the maximum levels for PFASs in certain foods, detailed requirements should be set for the methods used for sampling and for laboratory analyses. It also published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/1428 laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the control of perfluoroalkyl substances in certain foodstuffs.

Our extensive experience in PFAS analysis

At Mérieux NutriSciences, we have extensive experience in PFAS analysis and collaborate in various working groups dealing with technical aspects: equipment, limits and controlled molecules.

We can analyse PFAS by LC-MS/MS or high resolution LC with MS Orbitrap detector, performing the specific preparative required for each type of matrix (liquid-solid extraction, dilution, concentration).

Mérieux NutriSciences can quantify Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) in food with LC-MS/MS method, ISO17025 accredited (*).

(*) Click here to see our complete Scopes of ISO17025 accreditations: Italy


References

  1. Commission Recommendation (EU) 2022/1431 of 24 August 2022 on the monitoring of perfluoroalkyl substances in food
  2. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/1428 of 24 August 2022 laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the control of perfluoroalkyl substances in certain foodstuffs (Text with EEA relevance)
  3. EFSA opinion 2020. Risk to human health related to the presence of perfluoroalkyl substances in food
  4. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs
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