Be it Betty Crocker or a supermarket ready-made cake, if you’re partial to a slice of chocolate cake on the odd occasion and live in the US, you might want to take note ahead of your next afternoon tea. According to a new report released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), traces of harmful chemicals known as ‘forever chemicals’ (due to their ability to stay in water and air for thousands of years) are currently showing up in a number of food products sold in grocery stores—including chocolate cake. The FDA report warns that traces of harmful chemicals, known as polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) or or ‘forever chemicals,’—originally removed from manufacturing industries but remained as traces in drinking water, household materials and cookware—are now showing up in popular grocery items.
The report which tested supermarket products across the US—including Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia found PFAS popped up in a range of food items. Foods shown to have a high amount of ‘forever chemicals’ include—pineapples, sweet potatoes, meat, seafood, chocolate milk and chocolate cake. And of the meat, everything from turkey, steak, hot dogs, lamb chops, chicken thighs, tilapia, cod, salmon, shrimp, and catfish was found to contain levels of PFAS higher than warning levels set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
However, out of all the potential products affected, the FDA found the highest food product contaminated with PFAs was chocolate cake. Bad news for chocolate fans—with PFAS said to be not only linked to cancer but liver damage and developmental issues in children as well. And it isn’t just our dessert we should be wary of. This latest report also comes off the back of a study last year that showed PFAS were present in paper take-away boxes and sandwich wrappers at Whole Foods Market.
With packaging and food product both at risk of PFAS, the question is, should we be worried? Is anything safe anymore? Well, according to the FDA the tested food items are “not likely to be a human health concern,” but they do admit they are only now “really just scratching the surface,” with it opening up more questions than answers. Still slightly (okay, a lot!) concerned about what you can eat that’s chemical free and has a zero cancer risk? If there was ever a time to go plant-based and package-free, now might be it…