Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are currently the analytical challenge for all laboratories. In the webinar moderated by Maurizio Paleologo from the Italian magazine Affidia, the topic was discussed from different perspectives.


Since 1.1.2023, there are EU limits for four PFAS compounds (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) and their sum for eggs, fish, seafood and meat.


The maximum permitted levels range from 0.2 to 50 ppb, depending on the matrix.


Frans Verstrate (Administrator, Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, DG SANTE, EU Commission) presented in his contribution the current activities of the EU Commission with regard to future regulation and the development of reference methods.

Within the framework of an EU monitoring programme, further compounds are to be investigated with the aim of also regulating them in order to keep the exposure of the population through the consumption of food as low as possible.


Guideline values have already been set for fruit and vegetables, starchy roots and tubers, wild mushrooms, milk and complementary foods. In addition, the Commission has formulated non-binding recommendations on sampling, analysis and matrix-specific limits of quantification, which are very low for fruit and vegetables and are currently only achieved by a few laboratories in routine analysis.


Roberta Ceci from the Italian Reference Laboratory for Halogenated Persistent Organic Compounds (POPs) presented the analytical developments from the perspective of official food monitoring in Italy.


Craig Simpson from Keller & Heckman (Attorneys at Law) used the case study of PFAS in organic eggs in Denmark to show the need to also look at potential sources of entry of these persistent chemicals into the food chain in animal foods. In this case, chickens were fed poultry feed containing fishmeal, which was the source of contamination for PFAS. Currently, there are no EU regulations for PFAS in feed.


YOUR PLUS: AGROLAB laboratories carry out PFAS residue testing in food, feed and environmental samples according to accredited methods. The test spectrum for marketability tests in food includes the four indicator compounds and their sum. The results are evaluated in a legally secure manner according to the applicable regulations.


Author: Dr. Frank Mörsberger