The fight over PFAS in food is about to get more intense


Legal tensions surrounding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food have intensified in recent years, and they are about to get more heated. A handful of recent developments, including a mid-September warning that the livers from deer near Marinette, WI, are not safe for human consumption, are behind the possible temperature change. The warning follows similar warnings for fish and deer in Michigan and fish in certain Alabama waterways.

While PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals,” in a 5-mile area around the Johnson Controls, Inc./Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette have contaminated deer livers, Wisconsin officials declared the venison from deer in the area safe. But the distinction shows how tricky the PFAS issue is, and with similar issues popping up across the country—and the possibility of a new administration in Washington, D.C., that could have a heavier hand on PFAS—companies and other organizations should be prepared.

For a company that ends up in PFAS litigation, the first step, logically, is to get in regulatory compliance—and do it fast. But doing so can be difficult given cross-jurisdictional inconsistencies, with some states waiting on formal drinking water limits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before setting their own limits and others still forging ahead with contradictory and inconsistent standards.

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Food Safety Magazine, 20 October 2020