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Members Gain Insight, Question Experts on PFAS During IDFA Webinar

Jun 20, 2019

Nearly 150 dairy professionals tuned in Tuesday to IDFA’s webinar for members to receive an update on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and how they are affecting or could affect the dairy industry. Members asked many questions about the potential for these man-made chemicals to be present at detectable levels in raw milk, dairy products and other foods. They were reassured to learn that, based on current knowledge and testing protocols, dairy foods are safe, and the system in place to ensure the safety and integrity of dairy foods is working as intended.

Danielle Quist, IDFA senior director for regulatory affairs and counsel, and Lisa Campe, senior technical advisor at Woodard & Curran, an environmental consulting firm, and an expert on PFAS, led the webinar. They provided information about the current science on determining PFAS levels in foods and discussed potential human health risks, as well as current testing and risk assessments by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Paul South, Ph.D., director of the division of plant products and beverages at FDA, also participated and answered questions from IDFA members. He explained that measuring PFAS concentrations in food, estimating dietary exposure and determining associated health effects is an emerging area of science.

When asked whether individual companies should be testing for PFAS in raw milk or their finished dairy products, South said FDA doesn’t recommend food companies start to test and analyze because food-testing techniques and measurements for PFAS are still evolving. He reassured members that the agency doesn’t see any major issues for dairy products at this time.

FDA plays a primary role in generating, applying and evaluating the science needed to estimate exposure to PFAS and other contaminants from food and assess the levels for concern regarding potential human health risks. IDFA continues to work with FDA to ensure the safety and integrity of dairy foods and encourage consistent communication to guard against misinformation and allay consumer concerns.  

South commended IDFA for its efforts, saying, “IDFA is providing an excellent service to its members with this webinar.” He encouraged IDFA to remain engaged because scientists at FDA and other agencies do not have all the answers and need to continue collaborating with industry and other experts.  

FDA recently issued a statement announcing its confidence in the safety of the food supply, noting that the agency’s testing to date has shown that very few foods contain detectable levels of PFAS. FDA has published new information on its website to help dairy companies and the public understand FDA’s role in regulating PFAS and FDA studies.

To watch the full webinar, visit the IDFA Knowledge Center. 

Read “FDA Issues Statement, Posts New Data on PFAS, Confirming Safety of Dairy Products” for more details.

IDFA will continue to share updates with members as they become available. For more information, contact Quist at dquist@idfa.org.

 
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