Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Burger King, recently announced its plans to eliminate the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its food packaging.
Jose Cils, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, addressed the issue of PFAS being used in its food packaging for the first time at the annual shareholders’ meeting held on June 16.
Cils accepted that PFAS chemicals are used in food packaging because it creates a leak barrier allowing the food to retain its flavor. He acknowledged that these chemicals are a “nonstick substance that creates a barrier so that food doesn’t leak through the packaging.”
Cils said, “Our procurement and brand teams are looking at several alternatives to still achieve the leak barrier that we want without using the PFAS chemicals.”
According to sections within the media, Cils’ statement comes days after the fast-food giant received a health advocate investor letter which urged Burger King to stop the use of PFAS chemicals and issue a formal commitment on the matter.
Cils, at the shareholders’ meeting also mentioned that they had already developed PFAS-free materials which included a vegetable-based additive.
In response, Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director, said, “We are disappointed that Burger King and RBI still have not adopted a policy to phase out and ban PFAS.”
“We’re encouraged to hear the company is investigating alternatives, is beginning to make headway, and has promised to share their progress in the months ahead.”
Erika Schreder, science director at Toxic-Free Future, commented that Burger King also serves burgers in PFAS-free wrappers which indicate that they already have found an alternative. She said, “Burger King shouldn’t be using this toxic packaging—they owe it to their customers to serve food in safe packaging.”
According to several studies, long-term consumption of food contained in PFAS-based packaging can lead to diseases such as kidney cancer, high cholesterol, decreased fertility and liver problems. Exposure to PFAS could also result in obesity, low birth weight, and hormone suppression.
Several restaurant chains have pledged to remove PFAS from their food packaging, chief among them are McDonald’s and Wendy’s. McDonald’s has promised to remove the life-threatening chemicals out of their food packaging by 2025, while Wendy’s will start alternative packaging by the end of this year.
Burger King, on the other hand, has begun trials by using sustainable packaging alternatives in 51 restaurants across Miami.
PJ has a background in management consulting and software development. At DesignBro, he combines both. Personal favorite brand of PJ is Jeep.