Submitted to: Food Additives & Contaminants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2017
Publication Date: 6/12/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5802620
Citation: Lupton, S.J., Hakk, H. 2017. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in U.S. meat and poultry: 2012-13 levels, trends, and estimated consumer exposures. Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A. 34(9):1584-1595. https://doi.org/10.1080/19440049.2017.1340675.
Interpretive Summary: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and are classified as environmental contaminants and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by the Stockholm Convention. PBDEs were man-made and introduced into different industrial and consumer products. These compounds have the ability to accumulate in the fat of food animals. As a result, consumers can be exposed to these compounds through meat products. The USDA scientists in Fargo, ND have regularly measured the levels of PBDEs in fat samples from beef, pork, chicken, and turkey directly from animal processing facilities for the last decade. Overall, levels of these contaminants in US beef, pork, chicken, and turkey have been steadily decreasing. Consumer dietary intake estimates for PBDEs were calculated from consumption of US meat and poultry, and found to be within or lower than values reported in other nations. The data provides encouraging information to US producers that meat and poultry exports are reasonably safe from these chemical contaminants.
Technical Abstract: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardants whose use has contaminated foods and caused subsequent human exposures. To address the issue of possible human exposure, samples from a 2012-13 U.S. meat and poultry (beef, pork, chicken, turkey) study were analyzed for seven PBDEs. The mean summed concentrations of the 7 BDE congeners (SPBDE) from beef, pork, chicken, and turkey were 0.40, 0.36, 0.19, and 0.76 ng/g lipid weight (lw). The range of SPBDEs for all meat classes was 0.01 to 15.78 ng/g lw. A comparison of this study to a 2007-08 study revealed a decline in the median SPBDEs for all four meat classes (-25.9 to -70.0% difference), with pork, chicken, and turkey PBDE residues being statistically lower relative to the 2007-08 study. BDEs 47 and 99 contributed the most to the SPBDE concentrations, indicating likely animal exposures to the penta-BDE formulation. Based on the reported data an estimate of U.S. consumer daily intake of PBDEs from meat and poultry was 6.42 ng/day.