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Press Statement

Health advocates respond to FDA’s latest announcement on PFAS in food packaging

Bans of PFAS in food packaging are the result of state laws and corporate actions

Health advocates agree that FDA’s announcement is a step forward but more must be done to protect public health

SEATTLE, WA—The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced progress on a voluntary agreement from 2020 with PFAS manufacturers to end sales of certain PFAS for food contact applications. Three companies including Daikin America Inc.Archroma Management, and AGC Chemicals America Inc. submitted final reports last month to the agency, confirming they voluntarily ceased sales of certain PFAS for use in food contact applications in the United States by December 31, 2023. A fourth company, Chemours Company, submitted a letter to FDA in 2019 stating it had ended sales of certain PFAS for food contact in June 2019.

Health advocates respond by stating that bans of PFAS in food packaging are the result of state laws and corporate actions. To date, 12 state laws and more than 24 major food retailers have banned PFAS in food packaging. Toxic-Free Future and Safer States maintain that the FDA’s inadequate regulatory system and failure to act against PFAS and other harmful chemicals demonstrate the need for further action from Congress and for the federal government to look to the states and companies for new approaches for regulating chemicals.

In response to the FDA announcement, Toxic-Free Future and Safer States issued the following statements: 

“While FDA’s announcement signals progress toward getting dangerous chemicals out of food packaging, FDA’s reliance on voluntary industry action is a reminder of the agency’s failure to ensure only safe chemicals are used in food contact materials. The current regulatory system allowed PFAS in food packaging, from burger wrappers to popcorn bags, for decades,” said Laurie Valerianoexecutive director of Toxic-Free Future. “FDA’s announcement is really an acknowledgement that the major manufacturers have responded to state regulatory requirements and corporate actions fueled by consumer demand, by voluntarily ending the sale of these dangerous chemicals for food packaging.”

“FDA’s announcement recognizes the actions being taken by businesses across the country, but those actions are voluntary and limited, and do not include imports of food packaging with PFAS, for example. To truly protect us from these dangerous chemicals, Congress still must take action to ban PFAS in food packaging,” said Liz Hitchcock, director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, the federal policy program of Toxic-Free Future. “Congressional champions like Rep. Debbie Dingell and Senator Maggie Hassan should continue to work for a ban on these dangerous chemicals.”

“State laws that require phase-out of all PFAS in food packaging now cover roughly 30% of the U.S. population. These mandates incentivize companies that sell across state borders to shift their entire supply chains to PFAS-free safer solutions,” said Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States. “States will continue to act to restrict toxic chemicals in food packaging and federal regulators should look to the policies adopted by states to get to safer food packaging.”

“Washington state was the first to act on all PFAS in food packaging due to FDA’s failure to ban these dangerous chemicals that people were literally eating along with their fries,” added Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Toxic-Free Future. “States like Washington are adopting new approaches to protecting health from the use of PFAS and other harmful chemicals in products that wind up in our food by identifying safer options that should be used instead.”

“Despite yesterday’s announcement, the FDA’s regulation of chemicals in food contact materials is out of step with the latest science on the dangers of chemicals and plastics in food packaging,” said Mike Schade, director of Mind the Store, a program of Toxic-Free Future. “Leading grocery and fast-food chains must now take the next steps to restrict other toxic chemicals and plastics that may be hiding in food contact materials and ensure substitutes are truly safe. Retailers can utilize the new Four Essential Elements for a Safer Marketplace as a framework to improve the safety of food packaging across the board.”


State Laws: The 2020 FDA voluntary agreement followed state regulatory bans on all PFAS in food packaging that began in Washington state in 2018, quickly followed by Maine and New York. Since 2018, a total of 12 states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington banned the entire class of PFAS in food packaging.

Currently, 28 states have adopted policies to address the PFAS crisis including Minnesota, Maine, and Washington adopting restrictions on all avoidable product uses as well as multiple states requiring phase-out of PFAS in specific product categories such as cosmetics, cookware, food packaging, rain gear, and furniture. Policies also establish drinking water protections, medical monitoring for impacted communities and cleanup resources.

Retailer Actions: Retailers are adopting comprehensive policies to phase out PFAS and other hazardous chemicals, according to the Retailer Report Card. Following initial state bans on PFAS in food packaging, more than two dozen retailers selling food or food packaging announced steps to reduce or eliminate PFAS in food packaging at more than 100,000 stores, which includes Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons,, Burger King, Cava, Chipotle, Freshii, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Popeyes, Sweetgreen, Tim Hortons, Trader Joe’s, Wendy’s, and Whole Foods Market. These actions were in response to state mandates and Toxic-Free Future’s product testing and Mind the Store campaign that worked with partners across the country to press retailers to ban PFAS in all food packaging.

Mind the Store’s Retailer Report Card also benchmarks the policies of the largest retailers, including grocery and fast-food chains. Currently, over 30 major retailers with more than 160,000 stores and more than $770 billion in sales have committed to eliminating or reducing PFAS in food packaging, textiles, cosmetics, and other products.

PFAS Concerns: Chemical companies sell PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for application to products such as paper and textiles as stain-resistant, water-repellent, and grease-proofing treatments. PFAS have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer, immune system suppression, increased cholesterol levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, reduced fertility, and increased risk of thyroid disease. PFAS has been found in breast milk and in most products labeled stain- and water-resistant. PFAS are known as “forever” chemicals because they persist and don’t break down in the environment. PFAS also have significant climate impacts due to manufacturing by companies such as Daikin America, Inc. Research has found that 3M knew in the 1970s that PFOA and PFOS are dangerous.


Toxic-Free Future is a national leader in environmental health research and advocacy. Through the power of science, education, and activism, Toxic-Free Future drives strong laws and corporate responsibility that protects the health of all people and the planet.


Safer States is a national alliance of environmental health organizations and coalitions from across the nation working to safeguard people and the planet from toxic chemicals, and to ensure availability of safer solutions for a healthier world. Led by state-based organizations, the alliance seeks government and corporate action that lead to safer chemicals and materials, and protection of public health and communities by transitioning away from harmful chemicals and holding chemical polluters accountable.



Stephanie Stohler
[email protected]

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