Food safety: Commission adopts new rules to protect citizens against dangerous contaminants in food

Today, the Commission adopted new rules to protect citizens against chemicals that can have negative consequences on the immune system, the development of foetuses and babies, or cholesterol. The new rules limit the levels of four environmental chemicals, perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS), in food. They will protect consumers in the EU by reducing their exposure to these harmful chemicals.

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “Today we are taking yet another step to increase the level of food safety in the EU and better protect citizens from harmful chemicals. These new rules show that we are committed to put the health of citizens first. This is a constant and unchanging priority.”

The four chemicals in question – Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) – are also known as “forever chemicals” as their chemical composure does not allow their breakdown. The Member States have unanimously supported the new rules which are based on sound scientific assessment from EFSA. The new rules will apply as from 1 January 2023.

They reflect an important commitment made by the Commission in the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability to address the presence of PFAS in food by introducing limits in the legislation on food contaminants.