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Reports: Retailers Making Strides Eliminating Toxic Chemicals From Food Packaging

Ellen Knickmeyer
Associated Press
In this June 17, 2019 photo in Washington, a label states that these pans do not contain PFAS.

More retailers and restaurants are eliminating toxic chemicals from food packaging, according to a report from the coalition Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Maine, who co-authored the report, says that of 43 retail chains evaluated, nearly two-thirds have made improvements since last year.

“So for example, retailers like Hannaford and Panera Bread are now phasing out toxic PFAS, the forever chemicals, and also phthalates, which we call everywhere chemicals, from food packaging,” he says. “And this is not being required by government regulation. It’s being driven by consumer demand for healthier, more sustainable products in consumer packaging.”

Retailers with top scores include Target and Walmart. Belliveau says there’s more work to be done, because 14 retailers failed to take any action.

PFAS resist grease, but have been linked to cancer and other health problems. A recently formed task force is evaluating the prevalence of PFAS in Maine and is expected to publish recommendations by the end of the year.