The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a new report on levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in food and feed.
The report reveals a general decrease in dietary exposure to dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, comparing the period 2008-2010 with 2002-2004, of at least 16 % and up to 79 % for the general population, with a similar decrease for toddlers and other children. Exposure to non-dioxin-like PCBs, a sub-set of PCBs with different toxicological properties, also decreased.
Levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, and of non-dioxin-like PCBs were above the permitted maximum levels in respectively 10 % and 3 % of the food samples. Just over 2 % of feed samples were above the maximum levels for both dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, and non dioxin-like PCBs.
Feed and food of animal origin showed the highest levels of contamination. “Meat from eels” and “Fish liver and derived products” contained the highest average contamination levels for both dioxins and PCBs. Meat from sheep contained on average less dioxins and PCBs than meat from bovine animals. Eggs from battery hen rearing contained significantly less dioxins and PCBs than those coming from free range, organic and outdoor growing production. Farmed salmon and trout contained on average lower levels of dioxins and PCBs than salmon and trout caught in the wild. Herring, salmon and trout from the Baltic region were more contaminated by dioxins and PCBs than those from other regions.
Overall, fish, meat and dairy products were the most important food sources. However, their relative importance to dietary exposure depended on consumer age and country of residence. The major contributor to total exposure was milk and dairy products for almost all infant and toddler groups, whereas it was fish and seafood products for most of the other population groups.
Wednesday July 18, 2012/ EFSA/ European Union.