PFAS in fish (products), crustaceans and molluscs

Who hasn’t heard of PFAS recently?

Not without reason since it is a very big but mostly important topic to be considered. PFAS stands for per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances and is a collective term to a wide range of chemicals (>10.000 different ones) with 4 main shared characteristics:

  1. Non-biodegradable – by nature and thus a source of pollution leading to increasing problems;
  2. Mobile – disperse quickly and easily;
  3. Bioaccumulative – not only in humans, but also in animals and plants;
  4. Toxic – for humans, animals and the environment depending on exposure.

Unfortunately, the list in which PFAS can be found is practically endless, especially since it is used in countless products that is being used on a daily basis. Besides the 4 shared main characteristics, PFAS causes very harmful adverse effects on humans that include the immune system, reproduction, blood and liver. On top of that it is a serious cause of cancer.

PFAS is already found all around the globe, from the Himalayas to the South Pole. Due to the high pollution and non-biodegradability characteristics it is no longer possible to completely remove PFAS from our beloved environment. The PFAS concentrations are in certain areas already a hazard to human health by which they enter the (animal) food chain and end up on our plates followed by toxic accumulation in the human body.

So it is fair to say that the EU has reasonable grounds for adding PFAS instructions and limits to the EU regulations 2020/2184, 2022/2388 and 1881/2006.

We, Interseafish B.V., take our responsibility as seafood supplier and perform tests to detect the possible presence of a PFAS compound in our products to guarantee consumer safety at all times following the norms as laid out in EU regulation 1881/2006. The total PFAS norm has been set for the sum of PFOS, PFOA, PFNA and PFHxS with as group tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 4,4 ng/kg body weight per week.

According to this EU regulation section 10 of the annex we should be especially carefully monitoring:

- Muscle meat of fish, except those listed under and 2 μg/kg (e.g. Thunnus albacares);
- Muscle meat of fish with total PFAS norm 8μg/kg (the species in our current product include sprattus sprattus, dicentrarchus species, salmo and oncorhynchus species);
-          10.2.2. Crustaceans and bivalve molluscs with total PFAS norm 5,0μg/kg.

Besides our focus on the above species we have adjusted our sampling plan for our entire product range to ensure consumer safety for all our products at all times.

Luckily there seems to be a silver lining in this dark forever chemical area according to The Guardian since it appears that Canadian scientists have found a way to break down PFAS compounds! We are following this breakthrough closely and see how science can save us and our beloved fish from PFAS!