FDA Announces Elimination of PFAS in Food Packaging

Feb. 29, 2024
PFAS, a group of substances that can cause health problems but are found in food packaging, have been phased out in the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that grease-proofing materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are no longer being sold for use in food packaging in the U.S.

PFAS “are a diverse group of thousands of chemicals that resist grease, oil, water, and heat. The FDA has authorized certain PFAS for limited use in cookware, food packaging, and food processing equipment. Exposure to some types of PFAS has been linked to serious health effects.”

The predominant sources of PFAS exposure in our diet include fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, take-out paperboard containers, and pet food bags. The manufacturers of items with PFAS in them have taken a “voluntary commitment” to “not sell food contact substances containing PFAS intended for use as grease-proofing agents in the U.S.”

The FDA lauds this announcement as a “positive step forward as we continue to reevaluate chemicals authorized for use with, and in, food.” The FDA engaged these companies as far back as 2020 about the scaling back and elimination of PFAS in food contact substances following a post-market safety assessment.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies several health effects that exposure to PFAS may cause in humans, including “decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women,” “developmental effects or delays in children,” and “increased risk of some cancers.

The FDA’s website has the news release.