Washington State Bans PFAS in More Food Contact Products

SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company, is advising stakeholders that Washington state has announced that five additional types of food packaging made from plant fibers have been banned.

The prohibited articles and their safer alternatives are:

  1. Bags and sleeves – densified paper and wax-coated options
  2. Bowls – clay-coated, polylactic acid-coated, polylactic acid foam, and reusable options
  3. Flat service ware – as above
  4. Open-top containers – clay-coated, densified paper, wax-coated, polylactic acid-coated, polylactic acid foam, aluminum, and reusable options
  5. Closed containers – clay-coated, polylactic acid-coated, polylactic acid foam, and aluminum options

Washington state originally approved ESHB 2658 to prohibit perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging in 2018. Food packaging is defined in the law as, “a package or packaging component that is intended for direct food contact and is comprised, in substantial part, of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers.”

Recodified as RCW 70A.222.070, the law authorized the Department of Ecology (DOE) to conduct a study to find alternatives. The results of this had to be published by January 1, 2020. If the DOE determined that safer alternatives for specific food packaging existed, the ban was to become operative in January 2022. If they did not find safer alternatives for some or all categories of food packaging, the DOE was required to review and report on alternatives annually, starting January 1, 2021. Any prohibition on PFAS in specific food packaging applications will come into effect two years after safer alternatives are found to be available and are submitted to the Legislature.

The DOE issued its findings in February 2021. The first alternatives assessment report found that safer alternatives were available for four specific applications – food boats, pizza boxes, plates and wraps, and liners. The second alternatives assessment report was made in May 2022 and included the above five categories of food packaging.

Stakeholders should be aware of the two effect dates, after which the DOE expects to enforce restrictions, resulting from these two alternatives assessment reports:

  • February 2023: food boats, pizza boxes, plates, wraps and liners
  • May 2024: bags and sleeves, bowls, flat service ware, open-top containers, closed containers

SGS Food Contact Material Services

SGS’s technical experts have extensive experience of testing materials and articles in contact with food. They can ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. SGS offers the full range of testing, including migration tests, along with expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review. In the end, it’s only trusted because it’s tested. Learn more about SGS’s Food Contact Material Services.

SGS SafeGuardS keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the full Washington State, USA, Expands Ban on PFAS in Certain Food Packaging SafeGuardS.

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For further information contact:

Dr. HingWo Tsang

Global Information and Innovation Manager

Tel: (+852) 2774 7420

Email: crs.media@sgs.com

Website: www.sgs.com/hardlines

LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

About SGS

We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. Our 96,000 employees operate a network of 2,600 offices and laboratories, working together to enable a better, safer and more interconnected world.

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