The parent company of fast-food retailer Burger King has revealed plans to stop using perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its food packaging.
Restaurant Brands International (RBI) CEO Jose Cils first shared the plans during a shareholder meeting.
Mr Cils’ statement is thought to have followed a health advocate investor letter urging Burger King to issue a formal commitment to stop using PFAS chemicals.
Customers who contacted Burger King’s customer service staff were informed that the fast-food chain aims to eliminate the chemicals from its packaging by the end of this year.
According to a large number of studies, the chemicals have been associated with various health issues, including high cholesterol, kidney cancer, liver problems and low birth weight.
Mr 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 chemical.
“There’s more work to be done this year on this task, but results [so far] have been positive.
“We plan to share more details in the next few months about our packaging roadmap as it relates to PFAS.”
Last year, Burger King was one of six restaurant chains whose food packaging was tested by advocacy groups Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Toxic-Free Future.
The test results showed the company had used food packaging treated with PFAS for its Whopper wrappers.
McDonald’s has pledged to remove PFAS from its food packaging by 2025, while Wendy’s is due to end its use of the chemicals this year.
Last month, Burger King trialled sustainable alternatives for eight of its most popular packaging items at 51 of its restaurants in Miami.
The items include cutlery, straws, drink lids, Frypod fry containers, Whopper wrappers and napkins.
The company is trialling Frypods made from renewable unbleached virgin paperboard, cutlery made with plant-based crystallised polylactic acid (cPLA), napkins made from fully recycled fibre, paper and plant-based straws, strawless lids, and two sustainable alternatives for Whopper sandwich wraps.