As a restaurant owner, chef and father, I urge Maine lawmakers to pass L.D. 1433, which would phase PFAS chemicals and phthalates out of food packaging.

At Vinland, my restaurant in Portland, we source all of our food locally. I know the farmers who put so much care into growing and raising the food that we serve each night, and they would be alarmed to learn that toxic chemicals in some packaging could potentially contaminate the food they worked so hard to produce.

As a chef, it alarms me too. I want to ensure that the food we serve our customers is only the best quality, which, it should go without saying, means being free of harmful chemicals.

I was deeply disappointed that Hospitality Maine, the association that represents restaurants in our state, opposed L.D. 1433. As a chef and restaurant owner committed to enriching our state’s economy and culinary culture, I find this opposition short sighted. Maine’s restaurants are a vital part of the state’s economy, and keeping these toxic chemicals out of food packaging where they can contaminate food will bolster confidence in the quality of the food we grow, raise, and serve in Maine.

Besides keeping our food safer, L.D. 1433 also includes critical protections for Maine’s restaurants and food businesses. It puts the onus on the out-of-state chemical industry to create safer alternatives to be used in food packaging in Maine, and it also mandates that those alternatives don’t cost more, which means that this legislation will not burden Maine restaurants with higher costs.

Finally, as a new father, I hope lawmakers pass L.D. 1433 to protect Maine’s children. As my 6-month-old son grows up, I urgently hope that the food that he eats will be free of toxic chemicals, so that he can have the healthiest possible future.

David Levi

chef and owner, Vinland


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