Harmful Chemicals in Fast Food Packaging

Harmful Chemicals in Fast Food Packaging

28 February 2017

Packaging is important. It creates expectations of flavour and helps you to market your products. But not all packaging is created equal.

Fast food is not known for its health benefits, as it contains high levels of grease and calories. However, it appears there is yet another reason to avoid these processed foods. Making the news rounds right now is how fast food wrappers and containers are laden with harmful chemicals that can have seriously detrimental effects on the body.

Fast Food Packaging

Much fast food packaging, no matter how big or small they are, contains chemicals that are known to lead to several diseases. These harmful chemicals are also linked to heart disease, thyroid issues and hypertension, and, perhaps most crucial, they can affect children’s vaccinations and render them redundant.

Certain grease-resistant substances used in fast food wrappers and containers and that feature in packaging today are polyfluoroalkyls. They are similar to perfluorooctanoic acid, a substance that does not break down even at high temperatures and is connected to high cholesterol and cancer.

A way to detect polyfluoroalkyls is by testing for elevated fluorine levels in the packaging. A recent study did just that. From more than 400 packaging samples, 46% of wrappers and 20% of paperboard (like the ones holding fries) were found to contain high levels of fluorine.

These chemicals, also known as PFCs and PFASs, can be transferred to the food while it is in the package and when consumers reheat it in the container. This is because the heat and the grease present in pizzas, burgers, and chips, for instance, can actually help the transference of these persistent substances.

What is The Responsibility of the Manufacturer?

While USA manufacturers agreed to reduce the number of chemicals in food packaging by 2011 and completely remove them by 2015, they are still being found in fast food packaging. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have forbidden the use of certain types of fluorinated chemicals, although they still allow over 90 other types.

The only solution to avoid fluorine chemicals in fast food packaging is to reduce their use or stop them altogether. Switching to fluorine-free packaging would require burgers, fries, sandwiches and desserts to be served in a different type of paper.

In order to accomplish this, therefore, manufacturers need to enter into an agreement with the relevant authorities.

In addition, fluorinated chemicals are not eco-friendly, which means they should never be used in packaging that is likely to end up in a landfill. KLBD Kosher strives to maintain cognisance of major events in the food industry at any given time, as we believe in the importance of offering a great level of knowledge and experience with each service we provide.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0) 20 8343 6255 or email info@klbdkosher.org to learn more about our kosher certifications, as we can help you every step of the way.

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