Packaged in Pollution
Are food chains using PFAS in packaging?
Toxic-Free Future’s study Packaged in Pollution was published on August 6, 2020 and found that nearly half of all take-out food packaging tested from multiple popular food chains contains potentially toxic chemicals. The investigation shows that all six food chains sampled had one or more food packaging items that likely contain toxic PFAS “forever chemicals.”
The study indicates major fast-food chains are serving up PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) with some of their most popular takeout foods, despite increasing consumer demand and legislative action to phase out the use of toxic PFAS chemicals. The testing included a total of 38 food packaging samples from 3 states in 16 locations and 6 fast-food chains. Nine out of the 38 samples were replicates, resulting in a total of 29 unique sample items for comparison. The testing of total fluorine to screen for the presence of PFAS was performed by an independent laboratory in February 2020. The report was co-authored by Toxic-Free Future staff: Jen Dickman, Erika Schreder, and Nancy Uding.
Success! Following the release of our report and campaign, McDonald’s announced in 2021 that it would ban PFAS in its packaging by 2025.