(ABC4) – Three popular American fast food brands are committed to making their food healthier – not by changing the food, but by removing chemicals that are in some packaging.

Brands International, owned by Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons, announced plans by the end of Wednesday to exclude per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from all consumer packaging worldwide by the end of 2025 or earlier.

On the same day Chick-Fil-A also stated they would remove PFAS from the packaging of their products, writing on Twitter: “Chick-fil-A eliminated the intentionally added PFAS from all newly manufactured packaging in the supply chain. Although some old packaging may still be in restaurants, it is expected to be phased out by the end of the summer. ”

Commonly used chemicals have been nicknamed “chemistry forever” because they break down so slow and can be found in our bodies, water, soil, air and food. In addition, these substances are toxic.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency I say High levels of some PFAS can cause reproductive problems, developmental delays, increased cancer risk, decreased immune response, interference with the body’s natural hormones, increased cholesterol and increased risk of obesity.

A study published Thursday by Consumer Reports found that PFAS’s more than half of 118 food package samples taken at major restaurants and grocery stores.

Starting January 1, 2023, California will ban food packaging with a PFAS level of 100 parts per million total flux content or higher, the level of consumer reports present in the following items: Arby’s paper bag for cookies, Burger King paper bag for cookies , Cava fiber tray for baby food, Chick-fil-A wrapper for sandwich, McDonald’s paper bag for french fries, Nathan’s paper bag for sides, Sweetgreen paper bag for focaccia and Taco Bell paper bag for chips.

Over the past few years, a number of grocery stores and restaurants have promised to phase out PFAS, but the ubiquity of the chemicals makes it difficult to eliminate them completely, according to Consumer Reports.

Last year McDonald’s said they eliminated the “significant subset of PFAS” in the packaging and committed to removing all “added fluorinated compounds” by 2025.

In early 2020, Taco Bell gave a similar promisewhich states that “PFAS, phthalates and BPA will be removed from all packaging materials intended for consumers”.

However, according to Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, it is possible to move away from using PFAS.

“From our testing, we know that retailers can use packaging with very low levels of PFAS,” Ronholm said. “So the good news is that companies can take steps to reduce the use of these hazardous chemicals.”

The same companies that sell goods with a high PFAS level already have packaging for other menu items with a low or indeterminate PFAS level, the report said.

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