The non-governmental organization (NGO) Environmental Working Group (EWG) has called for a ban of per- and polylfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from food packaging. An article published by EWG on August 6, 2019, discusses recent evidence of PFAS found in food and food packaging. It includes references to a study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (FPF reported) as well as a recent report by The New Food Economy finding PFAS in compostable bowls used by two major fast food chain restaurants in the U.S. EWG writes that this “should be reason enough for the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit these chemicals from winding up in our diets.” A recent set of articles published by the NGO Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) also critically reviewed the FDA’s statements regarding PFAS and the approach it has taken to determine health risks (FPF reported).

The news provider Politico reported on August 9, 2019, that PFAS manufacturer Chemours has also discontinued production of three of its coating products used for paper food packaging and voluntarily asked the FDA to withdraw approval for these products. “Since our inception as a company in 2015, food packaging has never been a focus for Chemours,” a company spokesperson told Politico. The spokesperson also mentioned that the company does not intend to develop any new PFAS-based products for use in food packaging. Chemours has previously submitted food contact notifications for a further six PFAS uses in food contact articles within processing applications, including in some gaskets and seals. However, it appears that these uses have not been withdrawn. The changes come in the midst of growing concern in the U.S. regarding the use of PFAS, including draft legislation to ban PFAS in all food containers and cookware (FPF reported).

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Scott Faber (August 6, 2019). “It’s Time To Ban PFAS from Food Packaging.” EWG

Joe Fassler (August 5, 2019). “The bowls at Chipotle and Sweetgreen are supposed to be compostable. They contain cancer-linked “forever chemicals”.” The New Food Economy

Lisa Martine Jenkins (August 8, 2019). “NGOs push FDA to pull approval of PFASs in food packaging.” Chemical Watch

Catherine Boudreau (August 9, 2019). “Exclusive: Maker of ‘forever chemicals’ cuts food packaging products.” POLITICO

Tom Neltner (August 9, 2019). “Chemours asks FDA to suspend its approved uses of PFAS in food packaging.” EDF

Saundra Young (August 8, 2019). “PFAS Chemicals in Food: Expert QA.” WebMD

Leigh Stringer (August 16, 2019). “Chemours asks US FDA to pull food contact approvals for PFASs.” Chemical Watch