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No PFOS found in produce samples

News | Published:

JERSEY potatoes and milk products sent for tests in the US for a potentially cancer-causing chemical known to have contaminated water sources across the Island have been given the all clear.

How the story was reported after the pollution was discovered (24915643)

The samples sent to a specialist laboratory last month have tested negative for perfluorooctane sulphonate – or PFOS.

Environment Minister John Young confirmed the results and said he was ‘very, very pleased’. He added that a report on the Island’s wider PFOS issue was expected within the next few weeks.

That report is expected to contain a number of recommendations about further action, including potentially wider testing of Jersey’s water table.

Jersey Dairy also welcomed the negative test results, and said it placed great emphasis on quality and food safety with a robust quality management system in place.

Meanwhile, the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service has said, contrary to claims made by the Environment Minister recently, it still has no evidence that PFOS foam has ever been used by the organisation.

Historic PFOS contamination discovered in a plume in St Ouen’s Bay is known to have been caused by run-off from the Airport fire service training ground, where PFOS foam was used.

However, since the start of the year it has also been discovered in water sources, including private boreholes, in other parts of the Island. Most of the positive samples so far have been well below the safe limit for drinking water.

However, one stream near the Airport has been above the 1.0µg/l level considered safe to consume.Water tests are ongoing.

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Deputy Young said: ‘I can confirm that the results have shown the all clear for milk and potatoes, which I am very, very pleased about. It was part of the picture but only part of the picture, and obviously we are now in the process of completing the report of all the investigations for PFOS across the Island.

‘Probably in about three weeks’ time that interim report will be published.’

Jersey Dairy managing director Eamon Fenlon said he had been confident that there would be no PFOS contamination in milk.

‘It has been confirmed that the results from the specialist laboratory have been received and they have not detected any PFOS in the milk, which is what I expected,’ he said.

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He added: ‘Jersey Dairy places great emphasis on quality and food safety. The Quality Management System is designed to ensure that policies, procedures, specifications, HACCP, BRC and ISO 9001 standards, plus customer and regulatory requirements are consistently followed.

‘The overall objective is to ensure that all products leaving Jersey Dairy are safe and consistently of a high quality.

‘Food Safety is our priority and any risks to this are addressed immediately.’

He also said Jersey Dairy does not source milk from cows grazing in the so called ‘plume area’ in St Ouen’s Bay where PFOS levels are highest.

‘The only herd in St Ouen that supplies Jersey Dairy represents less than 0.1% of total supplies,’ he said.

A spokesman for the JFRS, meanwhile, said: ‘To the best of our knowledge we have never used PFOS-containing foams though we continue to work with industry experts to confirm this, as far as it is practically possible to do. As yet, we have found no evidence to the contrary.’

Last month the minister said he had been led to believe from ‘people in a position to know’ that the JFRS had used PFOS-foam around the Island in the past.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
author

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