At a time when viruses and unclean objects have become a concern for the world, it has been reported that the packaging that is being used by many fast-food giants has toxic chemicals on it. The wrappers and containers that we usually buy our food might be coated with toxic chemicals.
The alarming news came through a report that was released last week by environmental advocacy groups. It was titled, ‘Packaged in Pollution: Are food chains using PFAS in packaging?’ indicating that it is not just calories that we might need to be worried about while getting our food.
Tests have been done to validate the report, revealing the toxicity level of the PFA substances. They are primarily a group of man-made chemicals that carry non-biodegradable linked carbon and fluorine atoms, which one usually finds on the packaging.
Pieces of evidence of the substances mentioned above have been found from numerous fast-food chains. The packaging that Burger King used for its Whopper and chicken nuggets was tested to find the same. More were tested, including McDonald’s packaging for its Big Mac, Fries, etc. and the paper bags we get from Wendy’s.
The paper-based packaging isn’t the only one that was found to be carrying such substances. Claimed to be environment friendly, these PFAS were high in the containers made from molded fiber. Even the bowls and containers that the restaurants usually label as healthy have been found with the same toxic substances.
Many restaurant chains have already started to deal with the new information that has come to light. Sweetgreen, known for its salad in D.C., has announced by ditching any of the PFAS based bowls by the end of this year while they also start to use PFAS free bowls as a regular practice. FDA has also gotten on board with not using certain chemicals in food packaging in due time. Changes would be made gradually.
After the news broke out, a statement was made by a Spokesperson from Burger King parent company, saying, “We are looking forward to extending our safe ingredients policy to include the removal of the short-term PFAS recently identified by the FDA. We will work with our suppliers to remove them from all packaging by or, where feasible, earlier than the three years recommended by the FDA.”
McDonald’s also added to this saying they have already eliminated several chemicals that were earlier used in their packaging on a global scale. The brand will explore more opportunities, so the use of PFAS in the food industry can become a thing of the past.
Other fast-food brands haven’t responded to the report on PFAS just yet, but the food industry is alarmed because of the news and is looking forward to making changes that could change the pathway.