Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are a widespread class of persistent organic chemicals that accumulate in the environment and humans and are associated with a broad spectrum of health effects as neurological, endocrine, immunological, and carcinogenic effects, according to the EFSA. PCBs were widely used as dielectric fluids in transformers, capacitors, and coolants.
Between 1995 and 2008 a total of 11,214 food and 1,349 feed samples from 18 EU Member States were kept for a detailed analysis. Overall, 18.8 percent of the results for single toxic chemicals were below the limit of quantification. According to the research, the highest levels of contamination were found in several fish and fish product categories followed by terrestrial animal products. The lowest levels were found in fruits and vegetables.
To improve the validity of any assessment of the presence of dioxins and PCBs in food and feed in Europe it is important to carry out random testing and separate reporting of a sufficient number of samples in each food and feed group. Targeted sampling during contamination incidences should be clearly indicated as such in the reporting.
Aporte: Víctor Tardón