November 4, 2019

FDA Releases Survey Results, Finds Harmful Levels of PFAS In Milk Samples Tested

Top Story  |   |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently released the testing methods it is using to test for 16 types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a variety of food groups. The FDA has been working on developing PFAS testing methods for several months. 

The FDA analyzed milk samples from two dairy farms in New Mexico with known PFAS groundwater contamination. For each sample in which PFAS was detected, FDA scientists performed a safety assessment. The results indicate that the milk samples from one of the New Mexico farms have high levels of at least one PFAS. “The milk samples were determined to be a potential health concern and all milk from the farm was discarded and not distributed into the American food supply, and milk production from those cattle has been suspended,” according to an FDA satement.

The results from the three surveys included a general sampling of foods collected as part of FDA’s Total Diet Study (TDS). It also included a survey of produce and a survey of dairy products, both from specific areas affected by PFAS environmental contamination.

“The final results show reductions in the number of positive samples compared to our initial results,” FDA said in a statement. “These reductions stem in part from the application of the newly established method detection limit (MDL), the level at which PFAS can be reliably measured over repeated testing. In our initial testing, we reported very low levels of certain PFAS chemicals in certain foods and as we validated the method and finalized our results, some of those concentrations are below the MDL and therefore are no longer reported as having detectable levels of PFAS.”

The final results of the TDS confirm initial findings that the PFAS chemicals FDA tested for were not detected in most of the food samples collected in 2017. 

“Initially we reported that certain PFAS chemicals were detected (although in many cases at very low levels) in 14 out of 91 samples,” they said. “The results released today show detectable levels of certain PFAS chemicals in only two of 91 samples.”

To date, the FDA has not publicly released their safety guidelines regarding PFAS. The say FDA scientists reviewed relevant information, such as levels PFAS level, consumption of that food and the most current toxicological information for PFAS to determine which foods samples may pose a health concern. 

“Measuring PFAS concentrations in food, estimating dietary exposure and determining the associated health effects is an emerging area of science,” the release said. 



PFAS Resource Center

Overhe(a)rd: What is PFAS (And Why Should I Care?)

What You Need To Know About PFAS

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