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Danish agency says organic eggs no longer contain increased PFAS

The Local Denmark
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Danish agency says organic eggs no longer contain increased PFAS
Danish producers said they would cease using fish meal in feed for hens after the pollutant chemical PFAS was detected in organic eggs. File photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Organic eggs produced in Denmark no longer contained increased levels of the pollutant ‘forever chemical’ PFAS, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said on Wednesday.

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The Danish Food and Veterinary Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) has lifted a recommendation that children limit the number of organic eggs they eat, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

While organic eggs were not pulled from shelves, the agency had recommended that children aged 4-9 years limit the number of organic eggs they eat.

That came after higher levels of PFAS were detected in certain types of feed used to feed hens at organic egg farms.

The recommendation is now lifted after new tests of the eggs did not detect PFAS over threshold limits and found that it was only present in very low levels.

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Organic farms discontinued use of the feed, fish meal, after the initial discovery in January.

Analysis showed that the PFAS content in eggs fell quickly after producers stopped using the offending feed, the food agency said.

Tests in March and April at 10 different organic egg producers revealed no PFAS at all in eight of the samples. The chemical was detected in the other two samples but in levels way under the threshold value, it said.

“It’s incredibly good news that the Food and Veterinary Administration has now confirmed that organic eggs no longer have PFAS at increased levels,” agriculture and fisheries minister Jacob Jensen said in the statement.

“This creates a sense of security and certainty that there’s nothing to fear about eating organic eggs,” he said.

“On the part of the government we still have a lot of focus on the latest general developments with PFAS and the Food and Veterinary Administration has therefore initiated broader screening for PFAS in our food products so we know more and can responde where necessary,” he said.

READ ALSO: Danish Conservatives want national ban on ‘forever chemical’ PFAS 

What are PFAS? 

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large group of synthetic chemicals used in various products since the early 1950s. Their past uses include foam in fire extinguishers, food packaging and in textiles, carpets and paints. Also known as ‘forever chemicals’, they persist in water and soil and can cause harm to human health. 

Due to their chemical properties, they take a long time to break down and can be found in very low concentrations in blood samples from populations all over the world.

They are, however, unwanted in the environment because they have been found to have concerning links to health complications. Their use in materials which come into contact with foods, like paper and card, has been banned in Denmark since 2020.

PFAS have been linked to a series of health complications and, if ingested in high enough amounts, are suspected of causing liver damage, kidney damage, elevated cholesterol levels, reduced fertility, hormonal disturbances, weaker immune systems, negatively affecting foetal development and being carcinogenic.

READ ALSO: PFAS pollution: What do people living in Denmark need to know?

 

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