FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn testifies before Congress at the U.S. Capitol in 2020. Bumble Bee has voluntarily recalled canned clams that the FDA found to contain high levels of PFAS. Pool Photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI | License Photo
July 7 (UPI) -- Bumble Bee Foods is recalling cans of smoked clams due to PFAS chemical contamination found after FDA testing. The clams came from a third-party manufacturer in China.
The recall applies only to the 3.75 oz. can Bumble Bee smoked clams with the UPC label 8660075234, according to Bumble Bee Foods. The UPC label is found under the bar code on the back of the package.
Consumers who bought that product should discard them.
The company said in a statement that, "To date there have been no reports of illnesses associated with this recalled product which was distributed nationwide to a limited number of retailers. The company issued the recall out of an abundance of caution after learning of the test results from the FDA."
Bumble Bee said in the statement that it is working with the third-party manufacturer in China to "further investigate and resolve this matter."
No other clam products sold by Bumble Bee are affected, according to the company.
PFAS chemicals are used in many consumer and industrial products. Since they don't easily break down and accumulate in the environment and in bodies, they have been called "forever chemicals."
Bumble Bee's statement said studies suggest PFAS exposure is associated with certain types of cancer, change in liver function and increased blood pressure among other health impacts.
Asked if this recall goes far enough in addressing the PFAS contamination, Environmental Working Group Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh and senior scientist David Andrews told UPI in an emailed reply, "It's a good first step but several canned clam samples had very high levels of PFAS and 60 samples of fish had at least some detectable levels of PFAS."
"Much more needs to be done to ensure that other PFAS contaminated foods are not commonly found on store shelves and being consumed," they said. "Much more expansive testing of the food supply including near PFAS contamination hotspot should be a high priority for the FDA. We urgently need to eliminate sources of PFAS contamination to our food supply."
Benesh said "EWG's best estimate is that nearly 20 million acres of cropland could be contaminated with PFAS, which could be making its way into food."
Benesh and Andrews also called for the EPA to strictly limit industrial discharges of PFAS from polluters.