Yum! Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, recently announced that it would transition away from the use of BPA-laden receipt paper at its franchise locations.
BPA or bisphenol-A, is a chemical popular with the food and beverage industry for its ability to prevent contamination while extending the shelf life of canned products.
BPA has garnered increased attention in the national media as scientists, health experts and consumers press for a federal ban on food packaging made with the toxic endocrine disruptive chemical. BPA acts like a synthetic estrogen and has been shown to leach readily into infant formula, beverages, and canned food.
When shareholder advocacy group As You Sow approached Yum! Brands about its use of BPA receipt paper in early 2011, the comapny was already planning to ditch the controversial paper product.
A 2010 study published in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry found that out of 13 thermal printing papers analyzed, 11 contained BPA. When taking hold of a receipt, BPA was transferred to the forefinger and the middle finger if the skin was rather dry, and wet or greasy fingers absorbed about 10 times more.
The fact that Yum! Brands produces some of the greasiest food on the market made its use of BPA receipt paper even more dangerous for consumers.
Upon learning of Yum!’s intended action, As You Sow withdrew its proposed proxy resolution that asked the company to reform its chemical policy.
“We are glad to see that major companies are concerned about toxic chemical exposure and are willing to take action to protect the health of their workers and customers,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow. “We look forward to continued conversations with Yum! and other companies that are using the precautionary principle and are committed to making changes to their products and practices when science shows there is a problem.”
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