US supermarket chain Whole Foods has reportedly withdrawn coated paper packaging containing cancer-linked chemicals.

The company removed all suspected paper-coated packaging products at its popular hot food bar after it was ranked the worst among five US grocery chains on the basis of chemicals used in packaging, reported Bloomberg.

In a study released by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, and Toxic-Free Future, Whole Foods was found to pack its takeout food and bakery items in food contact papers, which are treated with cancer-linked chemicals.

The study found high levels of fluorine in five out of 17 items tested at the supermarket chain. Four out of five items were used to package salad and hot food bar products.

The presence of fluorine indicates that packaging was treated with a type of per and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS).

These type of chemicals can have multiple effects on the human body. They are capable of migrating into stored food and can stay inside the body for a long period of time. Some variants can damage the immune system and cause cancer.

“The study found high levels of fluorine in five out of 17 items tested at the supermarket chain.”

The chemicals do not decompose naturally and can contaminate the environment.

The retailer was reported to have started using biodegradable alternatives.

In a statement to Bloomberg, the company said: “Whole Foods Market introduced compostable containers to reduce our environmental footprint, but given new concerns about the possible presence of PFAS, we have removed all prepared foods and bakery packaging highlighted in the report.

“We’re actively working with our suppliers to find and scale new compostable packaging options.”