Butter paper with no PFAS? Yes, please! Any way to reduce toxins we take.
You may have heard the hubbub about Kerrygold needing to recall their butter after discovering it contained high levels of PFAS, which are forever chemicals. Ugh. Toxins are becoming harder and harder to avoid. When it comes to food, it’s not just about how the food is produced but also how it’s packaged.
This issue hit me personally. My local area (not the farm or the farms we work with) has issues with PFAS contamination, which was discovered when testing the school’s water. It was created by manufacturing in the area decades ago and is still in the well water in my area. Yikes!
I have 3 kids, and toxins like PFAS are so concerning to me. I’m not afraid of my kids being exposed to a toxin every now and then (that’s basically unavoidable nowadays), but I am worried about their toxic load getting too high for their bodies to handle.
What are PFAS anyway?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (commonly known as PFAS) are manmade chemicals created through manufacturing many different types of products, mostly those that require non-stick or water/grease proof properties. There are thousands of kinds of PFAS. They are forever chemicals, because most don’t break down. If they do break down, it can take 1,000+ years.
Where can PFAS be found?
There are thousands of kinds of PFAS, and they can be found everywhere in nature today - water, air, insects, fish, animals, and in basically everyone’s blood (even umbilical cords)! They can be found in cookware, waterproof jackets, processed foods, makeup, carpets, bath and body products… the list could go on and on and on.
What happens if I’m exposed to PFAS?
PFAS are so prevalent that it’s no longer a question of “if” you’ve been exposed, it’s a question of “how much” exposure you’ve had. When exposed, PFAS can last up to 8 years or longer in your body, which means accumulation over time is a big concern.
PFAS are endocrine disrupting chemicals, which means they interfere with your hormones. PFAS contamination can cause a variety of chronic conditions like cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility and reproductive issues, autoimmune conditions, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.
How do I know if there is PFAS in or on my food?
Well, the short answer is you can’t. It’s not something you can see or smell or taste. It’s not something that is required on the label. It could come from the packaging but can also be an ingredient in processed food or a coating on equipment or cookware used to make food.
Since the 1960s, the FDA has allowed specific PFAS to be in contact with food (despite knowing the risks). PFAS are allowed in four basic categories:
- Non-stick cookware
- Gaskets, O-rings, and other parts of machines used to process food
- A “processing aid” in processed food to prevent sticking to machines
- Paper/paperboard food packaging
That last one is where our butter paper comes into play. Many papers used to coat foods or bake contain PFAS. It’s not in the paper itself but in the waterproof coating on the paper. Think parchment paper, freezer paper, butcher paper, foil paper, etc.
All of this is terrible, but I have some great news - our butter paper is free of PFAS!!!
We love wrapping our butter in paper. It’s been a longtime customer request that is coming to full fruition this year. It helps us reduce the amount of plastic and packaging waste for all of us.
But, of course, in order to offer you the purest products, we also need to be mindful of our packaging choices. So, of course, we reached out to the paper manufacturer to find out more.
Our paper manufacturer sources raw materials from companies that test each material for PFAS, which is amazing. Here’s a statement from the manufacturer of the paraffin coating on our butter paper.
And just to be a little extra, here’s the safety data sheet for the coating, too.
So, in the chance that any of the paper coating transfers to the butter, you can be assured that our butter is PFAS-free!