Food Packaging Restrictions
Many jurisdictions across California are concerned with polystyrene foam as litter. These jurisdictions have passed ordinances which ban the use of polystyrene foam containers for packaging food at the store location. While the grocery industry uses a limited amount of foam for food packaging, ordinances like these could have negative operational and financial impacts.
The first concern the grocery industry has with banning foam food packaging is our ability to continue to package raw meats with foam trays. The flexibility along with the sturdiness of these trays helps reduce breakage and subsequent contamination by raw meats. Every local jurisdiction in California has included an exemption for using foam trays to package raw meats, poultry, seafood and fish.
While the removal of foam food packaging as an option is a challenge, a mandate on the type of replacement products is unacceptable. With the wide variety of food products packaged and offered for sale at grocery stores no single type of packaging can handle all applications. Different types of plastic perform better under constant heat versus cold storage and shelf life of food products can also be impacted by packaging type. Any mandate to direct stores to use a single type of packaging, whether a specific plastic type, paper product or biodegradable product is unacceptable.
CGA and the grocery industry is willing to work with local jurisdictions to reduce litter, but it Is important the health and safety of the food product and the consumer are put first. It is also important that the best packaging product to contain, store, and ensure food safety is still available for us to package foods in-store.