The substance, a human-made chemical previously used in products such as fabric protectors but now considered a pollutant, was found in sufficient quantities that the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) says it should not be consumed, according to publication Ingeniøren, which broke the story.
High concentrations of PFOS were earlier last year in wastewater from a treatment plant at Korsør on Zealand, and later at a field where cattle had grazed.
That led to high levels of the substance being detected in 118 people who lived in the area.
The issue led to several locations across Denmark, mostly in the vicinity of fire service training locations, undergoing investigations for presence of the chemical.
Levels of PFOS in the meat from the Odense cows are, however, 100 times lower than that detected at Korsør, according to Ingeniøren’s report.
But members of the farming association that owns the grazing land said they want to know whether they have any PFOS in their blood.
“We feel bad about it. We have fortunately not eaten any of this year’s meat and have now thrown it out, but we have had cows on the confirmed PFOS-polluted area since 2018, when we have eaten the meat,” a member of the association’s board, Ulf Løbner-Olesen, told Ingeniøren.
“We now want to know whether we are infected with this, and in such case how much or how little there is,” he added.
The source of the pollution in Odense is uncertain, Ingeniøren writes, although the local water board has suggested potential causes.
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a human-made chemical fluorosurfactant which was used in production of products up until the 1990s but is now considered a pollutant.
The substance is very difficult to break down or dissolve, and has been used in a range of products including rainproof clothing and pizza boxes due to these properties.
However, the same properties make it difficult for humans and animals to break down if they ingest it. It can thereby by build up in the body, which can have long term health consequences.