Chemicals Found in Fast Food Packaging

Chemicals Found in Fast Food Packaging

By Amanda Elliott

Fast food might be worse than you thought. It’s not because of the food itself, rather the problem comes from the packaging.

Chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects:

Fast food packaging has chemicals in a third of its products.  These chemicals, which are called perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), were originally used by fast food chains because of their grease-resistant properties.

But, unfortunately, the chemicals in fast food packaging have been tested and found harmful. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration banned three PFCs after they were linked to cancer and birth defects.

Though this took effect, EWG President Ken Cook warned, “It’s taken the FDA more than 10 years to figure that out, and it’s banning only three chemicals that aren’t even made any more. ”

Recent studies further investigated details about PFCs and other similar chemicals that fast food chains are using in their packaging. Read on to find out more about potential dangers of chemicals in fast food packaging.

Why is fast food packaging dangerous?

In a recent investigation, wrappers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbucks and more contained a building block to fluorine that creates PFCs.

In the report, dessert and bread wrappers contained the highest amount of fluorine, at 56%. Burger wrappers contained 38%. While paper cups did not contain any traces of fluorine.

Though there is greater transparency to investigate these chemical concerns, these are also roadblocks. Wrappers and food can be categorized as trade secrets, which prolongs research and investigation.

One of the ways that PreScouter helps clients is to research possible alternatives to packaging. In this case, certain chemicals are posing a risk to consumers. PreScouter helps packaging companies research alternatives so that businesses can explore their options. In the end, businesses can learn how to keep their same great product without altering the consumers’ experience, but still be compliant with regulations.

With stricter packaging standards and more studies, will packaging companies be able to develop new solutions that are both safe for the consumer yet not messy for them when they bite into their quarter pounder?

If you have any questions or would like to know if we can help your business with its innovation challenges, please contact us here or email us at

Never miss an insight

Get insights delivered right to your inbox

More of Our Insights & Work

Never miss an insight

Get insights delivered right to your inbox

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter.

Too many subscribe attempts for this email address.