Canada-based fast food holding company Restaurant Brands International (RBI) has pledged to end the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its food packaging.

The company, which owns Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes among other fast food chains, has committed to removing these materials from its restaurants by 2025.

Also known as ‘forever chemicals’, PFAS are widely used to coat certain types of food packaging to make them grease-resistant.

These chemicals have, however, been associated with various diseases, including high cholesterol, kidney and liver problems, low birth weight and cancer.

In addition, exposure to PFAS has been found to have links to more severe Covid-19 symptoms and impact on vaccine effectiveness.

US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund Zero Out Toxics advocate Emily Rogers said: “We applaud Burger King for taking this step to protect its consumers and urge other restaurants to follow suit.

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“Burger King’s commitment will prevent their customers from unknowingly ingesting PFAS chemicals while they are enjoying their breakfast, lunch or dinner.

“With virtually all Americans already having PFAS in their blood, there’s no time to waste in stopping the use of PFAS wherever possible.

“After all, using PFAS to prevent greasy fingers isn’t worth the risk to our health or the environment that these toxic ‘forever chemicals’ pose.”

RBI’s announcement comes after a multi-year campaign led by Toxic-Free Future to eliminate PFAS from retail food packaging.

In 2020, a study into three fast food restaurants, including Burger King, and three health food chains revealed that all these businesses are expected to have their packaging treated with PFAS.

Burger King joins the two other restaurants in committing to removing these chemicals from their operations.

In October last year, the Canadian branch of McDonald’s committed to eliminating single-use plastic items from its restaurants by the end of the year.