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FDA testing finds detectable levels of PFAS prompting, recall of smoked clams


Bumble Bee Foods LLC is recalling smoked clams after FDA testing found detectable levels of PFAS chemicals in samplings of the imported product.  

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration test results came back after the agency conducted a limited survey as a preliminary step to determine if a more targeted or larger seafood survey should be conducted.

The product was distributed nationwide to a limited number of retailers.

According to the FDA, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse group of human-made chemicals used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products. PFAS do not easily breakdown and some types have been shown to accumulate in the environment and in human’s bodies. 

Available studies suggest associations between PFAS exposure and several health outcomes including but not limited to increased cholesterol levels, increases in high-blood pressure and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, developmental effects, decreases in immune response, change in liver function and increases in certain types of cancer.

Recalled products:

  • The recall applies to a 3.75 can of Bumble Bee Smoked Clams with the UPC Label 8660075234 which came from a third-party manufacturer in China.
  • The company issued the recall out of an abundance of caution after learning of the test results from the FDA.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products should discard them.  

FDA shares results on PFAS testing in seafood
July 7, 2022, the FDA made available testing results for PFAS in seafood samples collected at retail.

According to the FDA, the agency conducted this limited survey as a preliminary step to determine if a more targeted or larger seafood survey should be conducted.

The FDA tested 81 samples of clams, cod, crab, pollock, salmon, shrimp, tuna and tilapia, most of which were imported to the United States. Using the best available science, the FDA individually evaluated the PFAS detected that have toxicological reference values. The FDA determined that the estimated exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a type of PFAS, from the samples of canned clams is likely a health concern. 

For the canned clam samples with the two highest levels of PFOA, there would be a potential health concern for consumers who eat more than approximately 10 ounces of these clams per month, except for young children, who should limit consumption to 2 ounces per month.

The FDA is working to determine the extent of PFOA in imported canned clams and PFAS in clams overall and taking action to ensure the continued safety of the U.S. food supply.

The agency plans to conduct broader testing of canned and fresh clams, both imported and domestically harvested, to better understand PFAS levels to determine the best approach for protecting public health. 

The full notice can be viewed here.

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