On April 28, 2021, the civil society organization Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families reported that the fast-food chain Wendy’s announced that it will phase out all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from its consumer-facing packaging in the US and Canada by the end of 2021.

With more than 6,800 restaurants in North America and across 28 other countries, Wendy’s is one of the largest fast-food chains in the US. In their latest corporate responsibility report, the company committed to achieving a complete PFAS phase-out already within 2021, which is four years before their competitors McDonald’s (FPF reported) and Chipotle announced to replace all PFAS by 2025.

Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director, welcomed the initiative saying, “Wendy’s is taking meaningful action at a pace we’re thrilled to see. Wendy’s should expand the ban globally to all other countries where it operates. We urge Congress to take further action to protect our families by quickly passing the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act (HR 2727), soon to be re-introduced by Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell.”

In 2018, the Mind the Store campaign analyzed packaging from six food chains, including Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King, and it found that these food chains were selling food packaging items likely containing PFAS (FPF reported). Advocates have launched a petition urging Burger King to take similar action to ban PFAS. For more information on other retailer initiatives and commitments, please refer to the Food Packaging Forum’s brand and retailers database.

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Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (April 28, 2021). “Wendy’s announces ban on toxic chemicals in food packaging.

Wendy’s (April 2021). “2020 Corporate Responsibility Report.(pdf)