Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center » Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #243969

Title: Food Safety Research at USDA: Hormones in Water and POPs in Food

item Huwe, Janice
item Shappell, Nancy

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2009
Publication Date: 11/4/2009
Citation: Huwe, J.K., Shappell, N.W. 2009. Food Safety Research at USDA: Hormones in Water and POPs in Food. In: Proceedings of 4th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis, November 4-6, 2009, Prague, Czech Republic. Presentation LS2, page 11.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Large concentrated animal farms have been the subject of intense public scrutiny, in part due to concern about environmental release of endocrine disruptors, including natural hormones. Surface waters in proximity to farms were evaluated for hormones and estrogenic activity (E-Screen) by the USDA. A constructed wetland built to lower N and P in swine waste prior to land application was found to efficiently lower estrogen/ic concentrations/activity in swine wastewater from a farrowing facility. Application of ~ 54,000 tons of dairy cattle waste on ~ 2,000 acres using best management practices did not elevate estrogen/ic content of area surface waters (< the proposed lowest observable effect concentration, pLOEC, for estradiol). Context for these values was provided by studying area wetlands, rivers, and municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent, all of which had activity < the pLOEC, with the exception of WWTP effluent. E-Screen’s application in the evaluation of food will be discussed. In efforts to monitor various persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in domestic meat and poultry, statistically-based surveys for dioxins and dioxin-like compounds were conducted by the USDA in 2002 and 2008. In both surveys, 17 toxic polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) and three coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured in beef (steer/heifer), market hog, young turkey, and young chicken samples. Sixteen polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were concurrently measured in 40% of the samples from the 2008 survey. Other 2008 samples and all of the 2002 samples were pooled by slaughter class and region to give 26 composites of the 510 total samples from each survey for measurement of PBDEs. The results of the 2008 survey showed total toxic equivalencies (TEQs) ranging from not detected to 4.5 pg/g lipid, and the sum of nine tri- to hepta-PBDEs ranging from not detected to 23.6 ng/g lipid. A comparison of the 2002 and 2008 surveys showed TEQs declining or remaining steady in all slaughter classes. Levels of individual tri- to hepta-BDEs declined by 40–90% and their sum by over 70% from 2002 to 2008 indicating that phasing out U.S. production of PBDEs probably resulted in a drop in these POPs entering the food chain.