Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) presence in food: Comparison among fresh, frozen and ready-to-eat vegetables

By Elena Piva, Paolo Fais, Pasquale Ioime, Mattia Forcato, Guido Viel, Giovanni Cecchetto, and Jennifer P Pascali
Food Chem
January 5, 2023
DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.135415

There is a worldwide discussion to provide safety limits in food for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of persistent contaminants associated to human disease. Processed food is more at risk of containing increased amounts of PFAS as a consequence of intentionally or non-intentionally contamination during manipulation and packaging. Among food products, also vegetables can be submitted to industrial manipulation; therefore, a different PFAS content correlated to the level of vegetables processing is conceivable. This study assessed the amount and type of PFAS present in fresh, frozen and ready-to-eat vegetables. Differences have been observed between the three groups of samples in the average PFAS content; the difference between ready-to eat and frozen vegetables resulted statistically significative. Organic vegetables displayed a lower total amount of PFAS respect to the traditional counterpart. The impact of industrial manipulation remains to be cleared, but pesticides use during cultivation could be considered a source of PFAS contamination.

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