Does the Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake from Trader Joe’s have any indication of PFAS contamination in the food packaging? This is what you’ve been asking us to find out so we decided to send it off to the lab to test! You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like safest cookware, safest parchment paper, and safest glass bottled beverages without phthalates, now join us for the lab results of testing Trader Joe’s Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake for indications of PFAS “forever chemicals.”
Disclosure: this post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN.
Potential Health Effects of PFAS Chemicals from Research
PFAS (aka PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS) are added to many products we purchase to make them “stain-resistant,” “grease-proof,” and “water-resistant.” In food packaging, they are used in popcorn bags, pizza boxes, fast food canisters & wrappers, and the flat dish on the bottom of cakes.
Here is the list of health problems (PFAS) perfluorinated chemicals are linked with.
- reduction in immunity
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- reduced vaccination response
- cardiovascular disease
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- increase the chances of miscarriage
- increase cholesterol levels
- low sperm count
- smaller penis size
- increase the risk of cancer like testicular & kidney cancers
Our government believes PFAS is so problematic, it forced one dairy farmer to euthanize over 4,000 cows that were contaminated with this chemical. In other words, this is a big deal to us and the environment and it’s not a good idea to eat food and beverages that are contaminated with PFAS.
If you feel like you’ve been exposed to PFAS, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of Community Health Investigations has created this fact sheet to use when talking to your doctor.
9,000+ PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Impossible to Test For Directly
Because there are over 9,000 of these PFAS “forever chemicals” and testing is only available for about a couple dozen, it’s impossible to test for them all directly. This was a real big problem for the composting industry when ascertaining whether food packaging was safe to be certified as “compostable” for the gardens of consumers. So they devised a plan to test instead for fluorine, which is the chemical all PFAS chemicals have in common. Testing for fluorine and finding it at certain levels can indicate whether PFAS was “intentionally added” or not and how much is inside.
Mamavation did this type of testing the other day when we tested the top period underwear products for PFAS and found 65% of them contained fluorine, meaning the period underwear industry has a big PFAS problem as well.
Because testing for fluorine is the only standard that is out there, we’ve adapted this for our own uses in testing food packaging as well.
Lab Results From Testing Trader Joes Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake for an Indication of PFAS
An EPA-certified laboratory conducted tests of Total Fluorine by Oxygen Flask Combustion and Ion-Selective Electrode on Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake food packaging. The Level of Detection was 10 ppm.
This product was purchased in July of 2021 and eaten (by my husband cause it’s his favorite). The food packaging contents were then packed up in a gallon ziplock bag and shipped to the laboratory to test. These were the results:
- Trader Joes Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake– “non-detect” fluorine
Conclusion of Testing Trader Joes Chantilly Cream Vanilla Bean Mini Sheet Cake
So what does this mean? We know many of you, although eating healthier foods most of the time, like to splurge on something sweet every now and then. We know this because we have gotten several recommendations to test this specific product at Trader Joes to put your mind at ease. So this is precisely what we have done.
At 10 ppm detection level, the food packaging for this product does not detect any fluorine. It doesn’t mean that it’s not present at all. It only means that at that level, which is the same level used to certify food packaging for composting, it’s not there.
We reached out to Trader Joe’s to ask them what the type of material is in contact with the cake and they told us it was a food-grade polyethylene. And although some polyethylene is fluorinated, this one doesn’t seem to be.
If you are interested in more testing and investigations from Mamavation click here to see more of what we have done.