FDA Reaches Voluntary Agreement with Manufacturers to Phase Out Certain Short-Chain PFAS in Food Packaging
August 12, 2020
Authored by: Tom Lee, Merrit Jones, John Kindschuh and Brandon Neuschafer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that manufacturers of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used for grease proofing in paper and paperboard for food packaging (for example, as coatings on some fast food wrappers, to-go boxes, and pizza boxes) have voluntarily agreed to phase out sales of these substances for use as food contact substances in the United States, following new analyses of data raising questions about potential human health risks from chronic dietary exposure.
Starting in January 2021, three manufacturers will begin a three-year phase out of their sales of certain substances that contain 6:2 FTOH for use as food contact substances in the U.S. marketplace. It may take up to 18 months after the phase-out period to exhaust existing stocks of paper and paperboard products containing these food contact substances from the market. A fourth manufacturer informed the FDA in 2019 that they have stopped sales of their short-chain PFAS products in the U.S. market.
According to the FDA, this phase out balances uncertainty about the potential for public health risks with minimizing potential market disruptions to food packaging supply chains during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Earlier this year, FDA scientists published their analyses of studies on certain PFAS used in food packaging. Their analyses of data from rodent studies raised questions about a subset of short-chain PFAS that contain 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (6:2 FTOH)