Plaintiffs claim McDonald’s fast food packaging contains PFAS or “forever chemicals.” The plaintiffs have pushed back against the restaurant chain’s efforts to dismiss the case, stating in a response submitted Feb. 7 that McDonald’s arguments are inadequate and incorrect.

The lawsuit claims that McDonald’s failed to warn consumers that its food packaging was contaminated with Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). These chemicals are found in soil, water, and air, and exposure to PFAS has been linked to a number of negative health consequences.

In 2022, lawsuits were filed against McDonald’s and Burger King after a consumer report was released that found that there were many PFAS chemicals in fast food packaging. Additionally, foods that are high in salts, fats, or acids have a higher chance of absorbing PFAS chemicals, making fast foods particularly prone to PFAS absorption. 

The plaintiffs argue that their decisions to eat at the fast food restaurants were based on the misrepresentation that the products were “safe to use” because they failed to inform consumers about the presence of PFAS in the packaging.

In its motion to dismiss, McDonald’s cited a case, Seidl v. Artsana USA, Inc., from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that held that a car seat manufacturer was not liable for failing to warn about the chemicals used to treat the seat. Plaintiffs have pushed back, stating, “Defendant McDonald’s Corporation cites to the Seidl case from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, but district courts in Pennsylvania are not binding nor do they always agree with courts in this District.” 

The plaintiffs state that cases involving PFAS contamination in consumer goods are “rapidly evolving” and are still appearing in courts throughout the country. If the plaintiff’s argument is successful, then the judge will throw out the motion to dismiss and the lawsuit will proceed.