On November 18, 2021, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act in the Senate. The measure seeks to ban the use of any per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as a food contact substance.
The Keep Food Containers Safer from PFAS Act would ban the use of PFAS in food containers, as well as cookware. The bill would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to declare PFAS substances in any food containers or cookware as unsafe. Under the bill, the FDA would have until 2022 to enforce the ban.
While most PFAS-treated food packaging is in use for a short time, the chemicals do not break down. Once they are landfilled, incinerated or composted, PFAS chemicals may be able to make their way back into the water and food supply. FDA issued an update in August 2021 on its ongoing sampling and testing efforts designed to better understand the occurrence of PFAS in the food supply. FDA's analysis involved foods collected from the Total Diet Study (TDS), which monitors levels of nutrients and contaminants in foods consumed in the U.S. FDA's analyses showed that most TDS samples do not have detectable levels of PFAS, with the exception of a cod sample in the most recent testing and from previous testing, two tilapia, and one ground turkey sample. To better understand occurrence of PFAS in seafood, FDA is conducting a targeted survey of the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S., including both cod and tilapia.
Nonetheless, 18 major retailers and a number of fast food companies, such as McDonald's, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell, have already decided to reduce or ban the use of PFAS in food containers, giving momentum to the market movement around restricting the use of these chemicals.
The bill text for the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act can be read here.