A Ministry for Primary Industries survey of 12 food groups for Per- and Poly-Fluorinated Alkyl Sustances (PFAS) has found no dietary concerns for New Zealanders from the emerging contaminants.
The survey, which included vegetables, dairy products, meats, takeaway food and seafood, was carried out on samples collected as part of the 2016 New Zealand Total Diet Study programme. Surveys or routine monitoring of PFAS related chemicals have not been carried out before, although there has been limited monitoring of food and biota around some site investigations.
To establish occurrence and baselines in the New Zealand diet, 96 food samples were tested for 29 different PFAS compounds. All the food samples were prepared using standard cooking practices to the form in which they would usually be consumed, eg, dry frying was undertaken in non-stick frypans. The levels of potential exposure to New Zealand consumers have been estimated and all are well within the health based guidance value, and therefore are not considered to present a dietary concern.
Only one sample of beef steak had a positive detection, for the chemical PFHxA, at a level that doesn’t present a dietary risk. No detections were made of the three PFAS compounds of current regulatory interest (PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS). While the source of the detected PFHxA is unknown, one possibility is migration from food packaging or from cooking utensils, as it can be found as a breakdown product of stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging and household products.
Here is a link to the full report: