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 workgroup is led by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and consists of staff from MDARD and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

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

  • Representative samples of row crops were collected from several agricultural fields in three Michigan counties known to have PFAS-impacted biosolids or irrigation water applied to the land. Sampling was coordinated with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, whose staff conducted sampling of ponds/streams, groundwater and soil at some of these locations.

Next Steps:

  • Develop standard protocols and methods for crop-specific sample preparation and PFAS analysis.
  • Coordinate with state and federal agencies to process and analyze crop samples for levels of common PFAS analytes.
  • Continue to identify, determine and mitigate food safety and animal and human health risks associated with any newly identified agricultural sites potentially impacted by PFAS.

Research/Studies: 

  • This workgroup partnered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to learn more about the food and feed risks associated with growing edible crops in agriculture fields containing PFAS-impacted soil or irrigated with PFAS-impacted water.  Samples of soil, hay, corn, alfalfa, and/or soybean plants were collected from three PFAS-impacted agricultural fields following American Association of Feed Control Officials GOODSamples guidance.  These samples are being analyzed for the presence of up to 24 PFAS analytes.  With assistance from federal agencies, this research will help answer rudimentary questions and provide knowledge about plant uptake of PFAS through impacted soil and/or water. In addition, this may help agencies learn to what levels various plant parts accumulate PFAS from impacted soil and irrigation water.  Initial results are expected at the end of 2020.
  • The workgroup is also coordinating with other state agencies to understand the risks associated with land application of waste materials like paper sludge.  Facilities holding approved licenses for land application of material with a known potential to contain PFAS are required to provide current PFAS test results of their material.  Groundwater monitoring wells and associated storage sites will also be tested for levels of PFAS. 
  • There are many questions yet to be answered about food safety risks associated with PFAS exposure at different points along the food chain.  Of primary importance:
    • 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. The data is awaiting interpretation and will be compared with data from the analysis of samples collected from Kalamazoo and Oakland counties.
  • In February 2020, samples from Kalamazoo and Oakland counties were delivered to Eurofins Test America laboratory for sample preparation.
  • As of early May 2020, the workgroup finalized crop sampling preparation protocols, with assistance from state and federal agencies, for use by Eurofins.
  • During June 2020, the crop samples were prepared by Eurofins for analysis. 
  • The crop sample analysis for PFAS is expected by the end of 2020.

Workgroup Lead Name and Email: 

Christine Kosmowski
KosmowskiC@Michigan.gov