The Grapevine

FDA Finds Cancer-Linked 'Forever Chemicals' In Common Meat, Seafood, Chocolate Cake

You may want to rethink your plan to eat that chocolate cake. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new report warning that it found traces of harmful chemicals in a number of food currently being sold in grocery stores. 

Listed beside chocolate cake are some meat products and seafood, which contain man-made chemicals, known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals have been removed from the manufacturing industry but traces remain in drinking water and some household materials, including carpets, leather, textiles and non-stick cookware. 

PFAS can stay in the water and air for thousands of years, which makes it the "forever chemicals." Health experts have long linked PFAS to cancer as well as liver damage and developmental issues in children. 

The chemicals tend to flow in the body for life once ingested or inhaled, Business Insider reported Tuesday. The new FDA report provides a new area to look at to avoid exposure to PFAS. 

The agency started testing PFAS from grocery stores in the mid-Atlantic region in 2017, covering Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Results showed high amounts of the chemicals in pineapples, sweet potatoes, meat, seafood, chocolate milk, and chocolate cake. 

Meat and seafood products, including ground turkey, steak, hot dogs, lamb chops, chicken thighs, tilapia, cod, salmon, shrimp, and catfish, had levels of PFAS higher than warning levels set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, FDA found the highest chemical levels in chocolate cake. 

But FDA noted the sampled food items are "not likely to be a human health concern."

Exploring PFAS

To date, scientists are still trying to determine the exact source of the “forever chemicals” in food. Some health experts suggested it may come from the packaging materials. 

In late 2018, a study showed that PFAS were present in paper to-go boxes and a sandwich wrapper product at Whole Foods Market. Scientists explained that the chemicals get to plants, which are later consumed by humans, when the biodegradable packaging containing the chemicals gets composted. 

"[The FDA investigation is] really just scratching the surface," David Andrews, a senior scientist at the watchdog Environmental Working Group (EWG), said. "It opens up many more questions than answers."

cake Chocolate cake is among the most common desserts but FDA warns it may contain harmful chemicals. Pixabay