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Understanding PFAS and Alternatives in Pet Food Packaging

Posted by Conitex Sonoco Team on May 04,2022

While PFAS may seem perfectly fine, the truth is they’re far from it—especially in pet food packaging. If you supply pet food, you need to understand the impact PFAS may be having on man’s best friend and what your alternatives are to protect pets from harm.

Here’s what you need to know. 

What Are PFAS, and What Are They Commonly Used For? 

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals. Since the 1950s, they’ve been used in a wide variety of products across many industries. Because they resist water, grease, heat, oil, and stains very well, they can be used to create convenient coatings to protect products ranging from microwave popcorn to pet food.

While they provide that special, oil-resistant coating, they aren’t safe to ingest. This makes placing PFAS in food packaging problematic. 

The US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized and listed many different health effects that can be associated with exposure to PFAS. These include a host of disorders, such as asthma, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, liver damage, and even cancer. 

Starting in 2023, a specific type of coated sheet that’s popularly used in pet food packaging is going to be banned by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While this may be good news for pets in America (as well as their humans), pet food manufacturers are facing a tough decision. Without affordable, high-quality, and effective alternatives to PFAS-laden materials, manufacturers may have to increase their prices or discontinue products to remain compliant with the new regulations. 

PFAS-Free Pet Food Packaging Considerations  

Keeping pets and other consumer packaging end users safe from the risk of adverse health concerns needs to be a primary goal for any food or pet food manufacturer. Looking to avoid toxic substances in your pet food packaging? 

Here are some factors to consider as you search for your new PFAS-free alternative:

  • Will your PFAS-free packaging still perform well for you? For example, trendy paper packages may look good on Instagram, but they need to hold up to your daily operations, such as your filling strategies, shipping/handling processes, and so forth.

  • Will your new packaging strategy work well for your product? Not all foods require the same type of packaging, and not all food-safe packaging is made the same. Does your packaging need to be moisture-resistant to support the needs of your product and consumer base? It may be a good idea to work with a packaging supplier who has materials scientists ready to help you customize your packaging specifically to your product’s specifications.

  • Will your safe, pet food-friendly packaging work within your budget? Some sustainable options aren’t that fiscally sustainable. While safety is a worthwhile investment, it shouldn’t adversely affect your bottom line. 

Introducing a PFAS-Free Pet Food Packaging Solution

We firmly believe that pet food manufacturers need high-quality options to supply their customers with the pet food they rely on in a safe and sustainable way. Our materials scientists have been hard at work to create a solution that will support this industry through the upcoming FDA ban and far into the future. 

 Sonoco’s new pet food packaging solution is the first recyclable, heat-sealable, and PFAS-free pet food bag of its kind.  

Sonoco offers breakthrough technology in its heat-sealable lamination, which offers exceptional oxygen and moisture vapor barrier rates with the strength of a woven polypropylene and biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) package. This makes our new pet food packaging an ideal solution for the pet food industry as well as other food-grade applications where barrier protection is critical.

The Perks of a Sustainable, Safe PFAS-Free Packaging Solution

We’ve been serving the pet food industry (and many others) for years, and we’ve come to understand the specific properties a good-looking, hardworking packaging product needs to have. Our new pet food packaging alternative comes with the following key advantages: 

  • A Strong Barrier: The woven polypropylene base layer material gives each bag inherent strength along with excellent puncture and tear resistance. This may drastically decrease the customer chargebacks for damaged bags often associated with paper and quad seal pet food bags. 
  • Adaptable Sealing: Our new pet food packaging products are made to seal on your existing bag sealing equipment. 

  • Smart Aesthetics: We know how important it is for your products to stand out on shelves, so our pet food packaging comes with full back panel printing, lacquer overprint options, 10-color printing capabilities, and matte, low-slip, and high-gloss films. 

  • Flexible Solutions: With capacities ranging from 4–50 pounds and a square stacking design, the new pet food packaging we offer is ready to maximize palletizing and shelf space alike.

In addition, these new fully-sealable pet food bags are 100 percent recyclable in the #5 recycling stream, fully compliant under the new 2023 PFAS-free FDA regulations, and—last but certainly not least—they’re affordable. Your company should benefit from cost savings with our bags when considering the costs associated with multiwalled paper and quad seal bags. 

We’re excited about this new offering and helping you experience a smooth transition to this improved pet food packaging! Contact us to see how the heat-sealable, #5 recyclable bag from Sonoco can help your product grab a bigger share of the market.

Tags: Food Manufacturing, Paper Packaging, PFAS

Conitex Sonoco Team
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Conitex Sonoco Team