Levels of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in food of animal origin in the Netherlands during the period 2001–2011
The aim of this study was to assess levels of dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, PCDD/Fs) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (DL-PCBs) in food of animal origin produced in the Netherlands, including potential trends in time. Test results from about 2500 samples of animal derived food products (beef, veal, lamb, chicken, pork, deer, milk and eggs), sampled for the National Residue Monitoring Plan from 2001–2011, were evaluated. Most samples were screened with a bioassay and, if suspected, analysed by GC-HRMS. The fraction of samples which were non-compliant with European maximum levels was rather low, being below 1% for most food products, except for lamb. Exceedance of action levels was particularly observed for lamb and beef. To obtain an insight into background levels, a randomly taken part of the samples was directly analysed by GC-HRMS. In general, only minor decreases in mean PCDD/F and DL-PCB concentrations could be observed for the period 2001–2011. This may be due to a plateauing of current background levels but also to factors like the sensitivity of the analytical method.