Consumption of sheep or beef liver can contribute considerably to the total intake of PFAS

September 14, 2020

The Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection has written a report on PFAS concentrations in sheep and beef liver based on samples from the 2019 National Residue Control Plan. The BfR has compared these data with PFAS concentrations in sheep and beef liver samples sourced from the food control programmes of various German federal states, which were taken in the period 2007 to 2020. The BfR concludes that the concentrations of PFAS in sheep and beef liver detected in Lower Saxony do not differ signifi-cantly from the concentrations known from the investigations undertaken by the other federal states. In order to assess the health risks posed by the PFAS concentrations in sheep and beef liver, the BfR used the more comprehensive data from the federal states.

Overall, the BfR concludes that sheep or beef liver with the identified concentrations can contribute considerably to the total intake of PFAS in individuals who consume these foods. PFAS are also ingested through many other kinds of foods. At least in the case of high intakes of sheep or bovine liver, this source of exposure can lead to a comparatively high exhaustion (up to the limit) of the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) for a single food, especially for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The exhaustion of the TWI for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, EFSA 2018) by consumption of sheep or bovine liver is considerably lower compared to the exhaustion of the TWI for PFOS.
About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

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