The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released results of its first survey of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from its Total Diet Study (TDS). The study monitors levels of nutrients and contaminants in foods consumed in the U.S. The study mostly looked at nationally distributed processed foods, including several processed baby foods.
The survey results showed that 164 of the 167 foods tested had no detectable levels of PFAS. The three food samples that did have detectable levels included fish sticks, canned tuna, and protein powder. Based on the best available current science, FDA has no scientific evidence that the levels of PFAS found in the tested samples indicate a need to avoid any particular food.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said that FDA's testing for certain PFAS in such a wide range of foods is among the first study of its kind, and that FDA will continue its work to better understand PFAS levels in the foods we eat to ensure the U.S. food supply continues to be among the safest in the world.
The foods researched for the TDS represent the major components of the average American diet based on results of national food consumption surveys. The newly released results are from a survey that included nationally distributed processed foods, including select baby foods, frozen foods, and foods in cans, boxes, or jars, which are less likely to vary by location or time of year and are generally considered nonperishable.
Starting in 2019, FDA has analyzed 440 TDS samples for certain PFAS from four collections—three regional and one national. In previously posted TDS survey results, three regional collections were studied and included foods that are more likely to vary by location or time of year, such as fresh produce, meats, and dairy products. The samples in the recent analysis were not specifically collected from areas of known environmental PFAS contamination.
In that survey, FDA found detectable levels of PFAS in certain seafood samples, and in previous ones, the sample sizes were limited, and the results could not be used to draw definitive conclusions about the levels of PFAS in seafood in the general food supply. FDA is currently conducting a targeted survey of the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S. Results from the targeted seafood survey will be used to determine if additional sampling, either targeted or with more samples of fish and shellfish, is needed.
FDA will continue to post additional updates on its ongoing sampling and testing efforts designed to better understand the occurrence of PFAS in the food supply.