Food packaging

Some Fast Food Packaging Isn’t Exactly Safe

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Think about that takeout order you ate recently. Almost everything probably came boxed or packaged in some form. And it’s what’s in some of that packaging that’s causing concern. A new Consumer Reports survey reveals potentially dangerous chemicals in many commonly used food packaging.

More than 100 food packaging products have been tested for so-called Forever Chemicals, or PFAs from popular retailers, and what they found is cause for concern. Consumer Reports has found PFAS in many types of packaging. In the packaging of fast food and grocery stores. We’ve even found it in packaging from places that say they’re moving away from PFAS. PFAS, also known as the forever chemicals because they generally do not break down in landfills, have been linked to serious health issues such as increased risk of certain cancers, reduced immunity and liver damage.

So if PFAS is in food packaging, is it also in food? PFAS can migrate from wrappers to the food you eat, like that hamburger wrapped in PFAS-containing paper or that salad in a molded fiber bowl. Research even suggests that people who eat out regularly may indeed have higher levels of PFAS in their blood. Paper bags, molded fiber bowls and single-use plates had, on average, the highest PFAS levels of all food packaging tested. While take-out containers and paper bins had some of the lowest.

In response to Consumer Reports, some companies have pointed out that with PFAS so prevalent in the environment, it is almost impossible to completely eliminate them. Several companies are also repackaging to phase out PFAS. Still, more than half of the products tested had low levels of PFAS, so it’s clearly possible for companies to achieve lower levels. In the meantime, Consumer Reports recommends taking your takeout out of the packaging when you can. And don’t reheat your food in its packaging. It’s also worth looking for retailers that are committed to reducing PFAS. While CR found its levels, not at zero, they tended to be lower than elsewhere.