FDA: Major Source of PFAS in Food Packaging No Longer Sold in U.S.

Feb. 29, 2024
Certain grease-proofing materials with PFAS are no longer available in the U.S. for food packaging applications.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a major source of dietary exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is no longer being sold for use in food packaging in the U.S.

These grease-proofing substances help prevent the leaking of grease and oil, and also add water-resistant properties to the materials to which they’re applied — typically fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, take-out paperboard containers, pet food bags and other similar types of packaging.

FDA obtained voluntary commitments from manufacturers in 2020 to stop selling grease-proofing substances that contain these PFAS for food contact use. Although FDA said that the original commitment letters it received from manufacturers said it could take 18 months for these packaging materials to work their way out of the supply chain from the last date of sale, most companies have exited the market prior to their original phase-out date.

FDA has authorized certain PFAS for limited use in cookware, food packaging and food-processing equipment, a release from the agency announcing the milestone stated. But it also has confirmed that other companies voluntarily stopped selling other food contact substances (containing different types of PFAS) intended for use as grease-proofing agents in the U.S., according to its constituent update on the milestone.

FDA called the fulfillment of this voluntary commitment by manufacturers a “win” for public health and the result of FDA leadership and research combined with industry cooperation.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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