Hannaford to restrict toxic chemicals in food packaging and beauty products
Retailer banning PFAS, phthalates, and BPA
PORTLAND, Maine – Hannaford parent company Ahold Delhaize USA today announced a new “sustainable chemistry commitment” that restricts toxic chemicals—including PFAS (per- and polyfluoralkyl substances), phthalates, and BPA (bisphenol-A)—from its products. The policy applies to its own branded products in the following categories: all grocery, baby food, and infant formula, as well as formulated laundry, home, personal care, cosmetic, and baby products.
The announcement comes after years of advocacy from the Mind the Store campaign led by the national coalition Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, of which the Portland-based Environmental Health Strategy Center is a founding and leading member.
In response, Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, issued the following statement:
“We applaud and congratulate Hannaford’s parent company for exhibiting outstanding market leadership with this new policy that will help protect its customers from toxic chemicals. PFAS, phthalates, and BPA are all dangerous chemicals that interfere with the way our hormones work, and they have been linked to a host of illnesses and health problems. By working to get these chemicals off store shelves, this policy is an important first step to protect many children and families from harm.
We look forward to the company taking the next step—publicly disclosing its full list of chemicals of concern, and outlining a clear public timeline to reduce and eliminate these chemicals from both its private-label and brand name products.”
The move from Hannaford’s parent brand follows the passage earlier this year of Maine’s precedent-setting law phasing out PFAS and phthalates in food packaging, and a 2018 law in Washington state that banned PFAS in food packaging. States and localities across the country are moving to phase out classes of toxic chemicals, such as PFAS and phthalates, in favor of safer alternatives.
The company’s new chemicals policy also signals a significant improvement to their approach to addressing chemicals of concern. The annual “Who’s Minding the Store?” retailer report card benchmarks retailers on their safer chemicals policies and implementation programs. Ahold Delhaize USA received a letter grade of F in 2017, as reported by the Portland Press Herald and Maine Public, and again in 2018. A 2018 report published by Safer Chemicals’ Mind the Store campaign found the likely presence of PFAS in some store-brand products at Ahold Delhaize USA stores.
This new announcement comes at a time when similar retailers are increasingly adopting safer chemicals policies to reduce and eliminate harmful chemicals. Last year Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s both announced action on PFAS in food packaging. Last month, Sephora also announced a safer chemicals policy for personal care products.
Also today, a coalition of over sixty organizations across the country sent a letter to the nation’s #2 dedicated grocery chain, Albertsons, urging it to also take action on PFAS in its supply chain. Albertsons recently disclosed it has begun to take action, stating it: “Worked with industry experts and replaced certain prepared food and bakery product packaging to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).”
Ahold Delhaize USA is the fourth largest dedicated grocery chain in the United States, with more than 2,000 stores and distribution centers across 23 states. In addition to Hannaford, Ahold Delhaize USA’s stores include the major supermarket chains Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant Food, GIANT/Martin's, as well as the online grocer Peapod.
The Environmental Health Strategy Center is a Maine-based nonprofit organization that works for a world where all people are healthy and thriving in a safe environment. Everyone deserves access to safe food and drinking water, and toxic-free, climate-friendly products.
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families leads a nationwide coalition of organizations and businesses working to safeguard American families from toxic chemicals. The group’s Mind the Store campaign challenges big retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals and substitute safer alternatives.