New guideline values for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in food - Including fruit & vegetables and infant and children's foods
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are long-chain hydrocarbons in which the carbon has been replaced by fluorine. They are of anthropogenic origin and do not occur naturally in the environment. However, they accumulate in the environment and can thus enter the food chain.
Typical representatives of PFCs are perfluorinated alkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) and perfluorinated alkyl sulfonates (PFASs with their main components PFOA and PFOS):
Due to the high stability and water repellent properties of the compounds, they are widely used in the industrial and household sectors. Therefore, PFOs are often used
- as emulsifiers in the production of Teflon
- for surface modification and paper finishing
- in textiles, carpets, leather furniture, paper and packaging, paints
- in fire extinguishing foams
- in electroplating baths, photographic and electronics industries, medical technology, pesticides, cosmetics, detergents, etc.
Regarding their toxicological properties, their influence on the immune system is discussed. For example, a low formation of antibodies was observed after vaccinations in children. The influences on lipid metabolism and thyroid function are under discussion.
Due to the high persistence and accumulation of these compounds in the environment, the EU Commission has proposed a recommendation for monitoring these compounds in certain products. Furthermore, the Commission has published guideline values for certain food products, especially infant and children food, which can be found in the COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION (EU) 2022/1431 of August 24, 2022 on the monitoring of perfluoroalkyl substances in food:
Furthermore, for certain foods of animal origin, such as eggs, fish, meat and milk, there are recommendations for maximum levels according to SANTE 11183-2018 Rev.0.
Food business operators are required to monitor the levels of PFC’s in various foods. The bilacon tests food routinely for PFC’s and reaches low limits of quantification using the latest technology.