Animal Health & Food Safety Workgroup

an icon of the outline of a paper grocery bag with a loaf of bread peaking out of the top

Mission:

To ensure food safety and protect human and animal health through the identification and reduction of PFAS in plant and animal food chains.

This Michigan PFAS Action Team (MPART) workgroup is led by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and consists of staff from MDARD, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).  

a lush green farm field with a silo in the backgroundRecent Accomplishments:

  • Representative samples of animal-feed row crops were collected from several agricultural fields in three counties known to have PFAS-impacted biosolids or irrigation water applied to the land. Sampling was coordinated with EGLE, whose staff conducted sampling of ponds/streams, groundwater, and soil at some of these locations.
  • Coordinated with state and federal agencies to process and analyze crop samples for levels of common PFAS analytes.

Next Steps:

  • Coordinate with state and federal agencies to evaluate standard protocols and methods for crop-specific sample preparation and PFAS analysis.
  • Continue to identify, determine, and mitigate food safety and animal and human health risks associated with any newly identified location potentially impacted by PFAS.
  • Coordinate with the MPART Human Health Workgroup to determine homegrown produce evaluation needs.
  • Coordinate with other state agencies to understand the risks associated with the land application of residuals (biosolids, industrial residuals, and byproducts) containing PFAS compounds.

Research/Studies: 

  • Conducted preliminary and exploratory research working  with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to learn more about these crops grown in agricultural fields containing PFAS-impacted soil or irrigation water.  This research may help gather data about plant uptake of PFAS through impacted soil and/or irrigation water. Initial results are expected at the end of 2021, and further review and discussion is anticipated.  However, the sample size of the study is limited; therefore, these results cannot be used to draw definitive conclusions about the levels of PFAS grown in these areas more generally. 
  • Partnering with state and federal laboratories to coordinate the development of standard reference materials for PFAS analysis in food and feed.
  • Based on the research referenced above, these are the questions that are yet to be answered:
    • What are predicted PFAS concentrations in crops, garden vegetables and fruits, livestock, and livestock products, that may be impacted by various amounts of PFAS in soil, water, and biosolids?
    • What are the potential human health risks of agricultural products that contain PFAS concentrations and are there acceptable levels?

Timeline of Accomplishments: 

  • During the spring/summer 2019, crop samples were collected from an agricultural field in Lapeer County.
  • In the fall of 2019, samples collected from Lapeer County were delivered to a laboratory for sample preparation. Crop samples were also collected from agricultural fields in Kalamazoo and Oakland counties.
  • In the winter of 2019/2020, the Lapeer County samples were analyzed for PFAS. Because of a lack of comparability between laboratory analyses, the results from the Lapeer County samples will not be considered for interpretation.
  • In February 2020, samples from Kalamazoo and Oakland counties were delivered to a third-party laboratory for sample preparation.
  • In May 2020, the workgroup finalized crop sampling preparation protocols, with assistance from state and federal agencies, for use by the third-party laboratory.
  • During the summer of 2020, the crop samples were prepared for analysis. 
  • During the fall of 2020, the prepared crop samples were sent to two separate laboratories for analysis.
  • The crop sample analysis for PFAS was completed in May 2021 and interpretation of the results is expected by the end of 2021.

Workgroup Lead Name and Email: 

Christine Kosmowski
KosmowskiC@Michigan.gov