In an article published on May 8, 2018, the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals reported on a testing campaign measuring the content of fluorinated substances in the paper and board packaging of ready-made cakes. The Consumer Council tested the packaging of 21 cakes (e.g., muffins, mazarine cakes, roulades, cinnamon rolls, etc.) by burning the material and measuring the content of total organic fluorine (TOF) afterwards. “High levels of total organic fluorine indicate that fluorinated substances have been added to the packaging material,” the Consumer Council explained.
For three of the 21 cakes, the packaging contained fluorinated substances in concentrations much higher than what is recommended by Danish authorities. In May 2018, the authorities established an indicator value of 10 µg total organic fluorine/cm2 paper or board. This value is indicative of “whether or not the fluorinated substances have been added intentionally during the production of the packaging material” and “not legally binding,” the Consumer Council noted. Generally, the Danish Food Agency recommends avoiding the intentional use of fluorinated substances in food packaging materials.
The Consumer Council further informed that compared to its tests conducted in 2016 and 2017, the use of fluorinated substances in baking paper for cakes has decreased and companies appear to keep their promise to use non-fluorinated paper alternatives. Stine Müller, project manager and test officer at the Consumer Council, was pleased with the 2018 test results and stated: “We look forward to more or even all companies stopping the intentional use of fluorinated substances in food packaging materials.”
The content of fluorinated substances in the 21 cakes themselves was not measured in the scope of this testing campaign. However, “other studies have shown that the substances can migrate from the packaging to the food,” the Consumer Council clarified. “The risk of migration of fluorinated substances increases in contact with hot, fatty food for example French fries or cakes baked in paper,” the Consumer Council further illustrated.
Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals (May 8, 2018). “Test: Fluorinated substances in the food packaging from ready-made cakes.”
Chemical Watch (May 10, 2018). “Danish investigation finds fluorinated substances in cake packaging.”
Danish Vetenary and Food Administration (May 2018). “Fluorinated substances in paper and cardboard food contact materials (FCM) – Fact sheet.” (pdf)