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Sanitary or Scary? Vinyl Gloves Used at Major QSR Restaurants Have Been Linked to Health Risks

An environmental group recently found that gloves used at McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s might contain a chemical linked to reproductive issues.

Obviously, gloves are meant to keep fast-food operations safe and sanitary, but it looks like that might not always be the case. A national group of environmental organizations called the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging recently discovered dangerous chemicals called phthalates in vinyl gloves used at certain McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's locations.

The report comes right on the heels of The New Food Economy’s investigation, which found that the compostable fiber bowls used at chains including Chipotle and Sweetgreen contain chemicals that have no known half-life and have been linked to cancer. 

With more and more stories like this coming out, sustainable and all-natural packaging are slowly becoming some of the hottest trends in QSR and fast casual. In addition to last year’s epic plastic straw ban, KFC recently committed to sourcing 100% recoverable or reusable plastics for consumer-facing products by 2025. 

Customers are rightfully demanding safe and natural food options, with more than one-third of consumers claiming that toxic chemicals are their biggest food-related concern. 

Although McDonald's is jumping aboard the green movement, it looks the problem at hand might be right under their noses.