Fluoride Action Network

EU recommendations on the monitoring of PFOS and PFOA substances in food

Source: Official Journal of the European Union | March 18th, 2010
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

of 17 March 2010
on the monitoring of perfluoroalkylated substances in food
(Text with EEA relevance)

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 292 thereof,


(1) Perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) are widely used in industrial and consumer applications including stain- resistant coatings for fabrics and carpets, oil-resistant coatings for paper products approved for food contact, fire fighting foams, mining and oil well surfactants, floor polishes and insecticide formulations. An important subset are the (per)fluorinated organic surfactants, to which perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic
acid (PFOA) belong.

(2) Due to this large use PFOS, PFOA, their salts and
precursors have been found in the environment, fish,
birds and mammals. The European Food Safety
Authority (the EFSA) therefore asked it’s Scientific Panel
on Contaminants in the Food chain to prepare an
opinion on the importance of food and the relative
contribution of the different foodstuffs and food
contact materials to human exposure to PFOS and its
salts and to advise on further steps in relation to the
risk assessment of perfluorinated organic compounds.

(3) The Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food chain
adopted a scientific opinion PFOS, PFOA and their salts
on 21 February 2008 ( 1 ).

(4) In this scientific opinion the EFSA considered it unlikely
that adverse effects of PFOS and PFOA are occurring in
the general population, but noted uncertainties with
regards to developmental effects in living organisms.
The EFSA recommended that further data on PFAS levels
in food and in humans would be desirable, particularly
with respect to monitoring trends in exposure.

(5) The Stockholm Convention on persistent organic
pollutants (POPs) requires contracting parties to
undertake monitoring of POPs, their alternatives and
candidate POPs and has included PFOS, its salts and
perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOSF) in Annex B
to the Convention among the substances subject to
restrictions on production and use,


1. Member States should monitor during 2010 and 2011 the
presence of perfluoroalkylated substances in food. The monitoring
should include a wide variety of foodstuffs reflecting
consumption habits including food of animal origin such as
fish, meat, eggs, milk and derived products and food of plant
origin in order to enable an accurate estimation of exposure.

2. Member States should follow the sampling procedures as
laid down in Annex I to Commission Regulation (EC)
No 1883/2006 of 19 December 2006 laying down
methods of sampling and analysis for the official control
of levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in certain
foodstuffs ( 2 ) in order to ensure that the samples are
representative for the sampled lot.

3. It is recommended that the Member States carry out the
analysis of perfluoroalkylated substances in order to detect
the presence of the compounds PFOS and PFOA and, if
possible, their precursors such as perfluorooctane
sulphonamide (PFOSA), N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamidoethanol
(NEtFOSE) and 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol.
The Member States should, if possible, include compounds
similar to PFOS and PFOA but with different chain length
(C4 – C15) and polyfluoroalkyl phosphate surfactants (PAPS)
such as 8:2 diPAPS and 8:2 monoPAPS in order to estimate
the relevance of their presence in food.

4. Member States should carry out the analysis of perfluoroalkylated substances
in accordance with Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004
of the European Parliament and of
the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed
to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food
law, animal health and animal welfare rules ( 1 ) by making
use of a method of analysis that has been proven to generate
reliable results. Ideally, the recovery rates should be in the
70-120 % range, with limits of quantitation of 1 ?g/kg.

5. It is recommended that the Member States provide on a
regular basis to the EFSA the monitoring data expressed
on whole weight basis with the information and in the
electronic reporting format as set out by the EFSA for
compilation into one database. They should also provide
the data available from previous years obtained by making
use of a method of analysis that has been proven to generate
reliable results in order to monitor trends in exposure.

Done at Brussels, 17 March 2010.

For the Commission


Member of the Commission


( 1 ) Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food chain on Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and their salts, The EFSA Journal (2008) 653, pp. 1-131.

( 2 ) OJ L 364, 20.12.2006, p. 32.