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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333729

Research Project: Environmental Chemical Residues and Their Impact in the Food Supply

Location: Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research

Title: Survey of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and non-orthopolychlorinated biphenyls in U.S. meat and poultry from 2012-2013: Toxic equivalency levels, patterns, temporal trends, and implication

Author
item Lupton, Sara
item O'keefe, Margaret - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item Muniz Ortiz, Jorge - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item Clinch, Nelson - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)
item Basu, Pat - Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)

Submitted to: Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/28/2017
Publication Date: 7/11/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5849932
Citation: Lupton, S.J., O'Keefe, M., Muniz Ortiz, J.G., Clinch, N., Basu, P. 2017. Survey of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and non-orthopolychlorinated biphenyls in U.S. meat and poultry from 2012-2013: Toxic equivalency levels, patterns, temporal trends, and implication. Food Additives & Contaminants. 34(11):1970-1981. https://doi.org/10.1080/19440049.2017.1340674.

Interpretive Summary: Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are environmental contaminants classified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by the Stockholm Convention. PCDD/Fs are waste products from industrial applications such as incineration processes. PCBs, however, were man-made and introduced into different industrial and consumer products. PCDD/Fs and PCBs have the ability to accumulate in fat. As a result, consumers are exposed to these compounds through meat products regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The FSIS and Agricultural Research Service have conducted surveys every 5 years of fat samples from cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys directly from animal processing facilities over the last two decades. These surveys were completed to determine background levels of PCDD/Fs and PCBs and temporal trends of mean and median values observed in the surveys. Overall, levels of these contaminants have decreased over the last 20 years. Results from these surveys are also used to investigate unusually high levels found to determine possible contamination sources (i.e. feed, treated wood, incineration ash). Also, knowing current background levels in these production classes can help with estimating consumer exposure to these contaminants.

Technical Abstract: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts a statistically-based survey of the domestic meat supply (beef, pork, chicken, and turkey) to determine current levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and non-ortho-polychlorinated biphenyls (no-PCBs) every five years. Fat samples for each slaughter class were collected from U.S. federally licensed slaughter facilities. The samples were processed and analyzed for 17 PCDD/Fs and 3 no-PCBs. The sum of PCDD, PCDF, and no-PCB toxic equivalencies (sum-TEQ) calculated using 2005 toxic equivalency factors for all slaughter classes, ranged from non-detect (nd) to 6.47 pg TEQ/g lipid. The median sum-TEQs, when nd = ½ LOD, for beef, pork, chicken, and turkey were 0.66, 0.12, 0.13, and 0.34 pg TEQ/g lipid, respectively. A comparison of the current survey to the previous three surveys shows a declining trend, with decreasing differences between median values; differences between the median sum-TEQs from 2007-08 and 2012-13 were -10%, -29%, -33%, and -25% for beef, pork, chicken, and turkey, respectively. Several beef samples underwent further characterization and congener patterns from these beef samples suggested pentachlorophenol treated wood as the likely exposure source. U.S. consumer exposure to these compounds is relatively low and no slaughter class contributed more than 26% to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chronic oral reference dose of 0.7 pg TEQ/kg bw/day.