Perfluorinated organic compounds in food – PERFOOD

Logo for the project Perfood

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are predominantly used in the textile industry for manufacturing breathable clothing and in the paper industry for producing dirt, grease and water repellent papers. Other uses are in foams for extinguishing fires and in non-stick coatings for cooking utensils and for equipment for producing food. Due to the high persistence of PFCs they are found widely in the environment and enter the food chain. Industry and sewage treatment plants provide the main entry pathways into the environment.

The Perfood project involves 10 partners from 7 countries and aims to identify the main routes by which PFCs enter the food chain. This will enable estimation of the exposure of consumers to PFCs.

The objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Development and validation of robust, selective, and sensitive analytical methods for identifying and quantifying perfluorinated compounds in different groups of foods
  • Qualitative and quantitative considerations regarding the relevant entry pathways such as environmental effects, food processing technologies, and packaging with the aim of estimating the overall exposure of consumers to perfluorinated compounds via foods and the environment

The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging will focus primarily on how PFCs get into foods via materials (packaging) and via processing technologies during food production. Here, both industrial processes and the handling and cooking of foods at home will be considered.

Project term: 2009 to 2012
Project funding: EU, 7th Framework programme