Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D., and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas issued a joint statement this week clarifying the agency’s activities relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The joint statement is intended to assist consumers, food companies and the media in understanding what steps FDA is taking to assess the risks PFAS may pose to the food supply and human health.

Importantly, the FDA confirmed that, based on the agency’s research thus far, dairy foods are safe and the system in place to ensure the safety and integrity of dairy foods is working as intended.

FDA explained that, as part of a 2018-19 targeted sampling effort at two New Mexico dairy farms that had PFAS contamination in groundwater, its testing showed levels of certain PFAS at one farm that FDA deemed a potential human health concern. As with any adulterated food, the milk was discarded so that it would not enter the food supply. FDA also tested cheese processed at that same farm and raw milk at a neighboring farm, concluding that the PFAS levels of those dairy products did not present a human health risk. 

The FDA’s test results and safety assessments demonstrate that U.S. dairy products continue to be safe and wholesome. The full results can be found here.

Moreover, FDA testing to date shows that the majority of foods tested lack detectable levels of PFAS. Those foods with detectable levels are low enough that FDA’s safety assessments determined that the products were not likely to be a health concern.

In the online posting, the FDA explained its methods: “PFAS concentrations in food, estimating dietary exposure and determining the associated health effects is an emerging area of science. When there is evidence of PFAS found in food, the FDA conducts a safety assessment using the best available current science to evaluate whether the levels present a possible human health concern.  The FDA safety assessment method considers how much people really eat and the toxicity of the contaminants to determine whether there is a human health concern.”

The FDA said it will continue to educate the public and the media about the conclusions related to PFAS testing to avoid confusion and misinformation. IDFA will continue to monitor and report back to members.

For more information, contact Danielle Quist, IDFA senior director of regulatory affairs, at