EU countries want swift action against PFAS residues in food

The Netherlands and Denmark and several other EU countries are urging the European Union to impose stricter standards against PFAS residues in food. It is clear that the European Union must take action, they made it clear on Tuesday at the monthly LNV ministerial meeting in Luxembourg. 

Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden officially reported to the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) two years ago that they want a ban on 'perpetual chemicals' such as PFAS…

Denmark is now going to introduce its own ban, after residues of the non-degradable chemicals were found in Danish eggs last year, probably caused by contaminated chicken feed. 

PFAS pollution has been big news in Denmark for months after the national Ombudsman reported at the beginning of this year that the authorities had hardly done anything about the increasing pollution for years. According to the Ombudsman, those authorities can be held jointly responsible for the health risks. 

Additional research has shown that PFAS also accumulates in grass and livestock. In response, Danish nature reserve managers and the Ministry of Defense last week canceled lease contracts with dozens of livestock farmers, fearing they would be held accountable.

This has major consequences for the livestock farmers concerned, as they currently have no access to these lands to graze their livestock. This already concerns thousands of hectares.

'We don't take any chances when it comes to possible PFAS contamination of our food. That is why we are now temporarily stopping cattle grazing in a number of national nature areas. We will do so until we know more about how much of the specific gedeieden is actually contaminated, said environment minister Magnus Heunicke. The nature agency, together with the relevant authorities, is now investigating what should be done with the gedeieden.

The Danish ban not only applies to the agricultural and food industry, but also to the processing of PFAS chemicals in packaging and children's toys. PFAS substances can be used in many products and are used, among other things, to impregnate rainwear so that it becomes water-repellent.

In the Netherlands, the issue of chemical company 3M in Zwijndrecht has been going on for several years, with increasing indications that pollutants end up in the soil and possibly also in drinking water. The looming groundwater problem is already on the agenda in the Provincial Council in Middelburg and Den Bosch.