Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals are used to make materials grease and water-resistant. These chemicals are also harmful to our health and are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they do not break down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that: “Some studies have shown that PFAS exposure may affect growth, learning, and the behavior of infants and older children….and increase the risk of cancer.” These risks are not acceptable.
That’s why LDA and over 20 partner groups sent this letter asking McDonalds to ban toxic PFAS in November 2020, urging McDonald’s to swiftly adopt a public policy to ban PFAS in all McDonald’s food packaging and food-contact materials. State LDA affiliates across the US also participated in the national day of action (see photo).
On January 13th 2021, McDonald’s announced they will ban all PFAS from guest packaging materials by 2025. The company stated: “We’re proud to take another step in our product stewardship journey with our commitment to remove all added fluorinated compounds from our guest packaging materials globally by 2025.” The company has also eliminated BPA, BPS, and phthalates in its packaging. (Note: while the company had stopped using long-chain PFAS chemicals in 2008, they continued to use other PFAS chemicals.)
McDonald’s is joining other quick-service companies like Cava, Chipotle, Freshii, Panera Bread, Sweetgreen, and Taco Bell who have also announced action to get rid of PFAS chemicals in food packaging.
LDA is a proud member of the Mind the Store campaign, which released a report on toxic PFAS in food packaging at fast-food chains in 2020. This report showed PFAS in food packaging at fast food chains, like McDonald’s Big Mac container and their small fry and cookie bags. Check our their MTS blog on this big win. LDA believes we need to ban PFAS as a class, to prevent regrettable substitutes, as there are about 5,000 PFAS chemicals.