PFAS issues for primary producers

Issue date: Monday, 15 June 2020

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The PFAS Sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) will hear today about safety standards governing consumption of PFAS contaminated primary produce in Australia.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for setting food standards in Australia and New Zealand. The Department of Health commissioned FSANZ to review PFAS safety intake levels in Australia in 2016.

PFAS was used in fire fighting foams in and around Defence bases for decades. However, PFAS substances are also in many domestic products and are present at low levels in the blood stream of nearly every Australian.

Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP said ‘The Sub-committee is keen to understand more about PFAS safety levels in relation to people and animals living in areas with higher levels of PFAS contamination in their environment’.

‘The Sub-committee has heard that primary producers in PFAS affected regions are still uncertain about these issues in terms of consumption of their own produce and what can be sold on the general market. This is unsettling for many’, Dr McVeigh said.

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has recently directed FSANZ to monitor PFAS in general food in its 27th Australian Total Diet Study.
Dr McVeigh said: ‘There is a need for clarity from FSANZ about the currency of its standards, the nature of the review, and the implications for PFAS affected primary producers on a national basis.’

This is PFAS Sub-committee’s first public hearing following the COVID 19 restrictions. The public hearing program will continue during sittings for the rest of the year.

Public hearing details:

Date: Monday 15 June 2020
Time: ~4:10pm to 5:00pm
Location: Committee Room 1R4, Parliament House, Canberra.

Due to social distancing requirements at Parliament House, members of the public will not be permitted to attend the hearing. An audio broadcast will be accessible at

Media inquiries

Dr John McVeigh MP
Chair of the PFAS Sub-committee
(02) 6277 4277

For background information

For further details about the scrutiny process and the Committee’s public hearing program contact:

Committee Secretary
Sub-committee Secretariat
02 6277 2313

For more information about this Committee you can visit its website. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

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