Getting Chemicals Out of Your Institution's Foodware

Tania Taranovski, Director of Programs

Take-out containers on a table covered with a blue and white checkered tablecloth. Text overlain reads 'Getting Chemicals Out of Your Institution's Foodware; Webinar Sept 26'

Hosted by: Farm to Institution New England on September 26, 2023

Presenters' slides available for download below.

What can foodservice directors and purchasing managers do to reduce PFAS (aka “forever chemicals”) from their kitchens and dining rooms? Hear about recent efforts at Smith College to use PFAS-free takeaway containers, with Andy Cox, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services. Then dive deeper into foodware chemicals with Sue Chiang, Food Program Director at Center for Environmental Health, who will share about GreenScreen Certified™ products and other resources to help foodservice operators make the best choices. Bring your questions! You’ll leave this webinar with ideas to implement changes in your cafeteria or dining hall.

What are PFAS? Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of synthetic chemicals widely used in disposable and compostable foodware, due to their ability to repel water, grease, and stains. But they do not break down in the environment, and are now found in water, soil, and the human body. Exposure to PFAS, even at low levels, is linked to serious health problems, including developmental delays in children, decreased fertility, increased risks of some cancers, and a reduced immune response, including reduced vaccine response. These risks are of particular concern in institutions, which serve sensitive populations at greater risk, including children (early childcare and K-12), teens and young adults (colleges), patients who are pregnant or of compromised health (health care) and incarcerated individuals (corrections). 

See FINE's PFAS in Foodware webpage for more information including a downloadable pdf info sheet. Further support from FINE is also available by reaching out to



Tania Taranovski | Director of Programs, Farm to Institution New England 


Tania Taranovski | Director of Programs, Farm to Institution New England | Download Slides
Andy Cox | Executive Director of Auxiliary Services, Smith College | Download Slides
Sue Chiang | Food Program Director, Center for Environmental Health | Download Slides


Speaker Bios


Headshot of Andy Cox, standing in a commercial kitchen, wearing a light blue shirt and a dark blue tie.

Andy Cox (he/him) is the Executive Director of Auxiliary Services at Smith College in Northampton, MA where he oversees Dining Services.  His past experience includes General Manager at The Hotchkiss School, Executive Chef at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as farm to table restaurants in Oregon, Chicago and Boston. He holds a BA from UMass Amherst in Sustainability Management with a Certificate in Sustainable Food and Farming.  Andy is committed to increasing the environmental practices of the Smith College operations to align with the lessons taught Smith's course and provide opportunities to use the campus as an extension of the classroom.


Headshot of Sue Chiang, standing against a concrete wall and wearing a dark blue shirt.

Sue Chiang works with institutional purchasers from a wide range of sectors to harness their collective buying power to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals and expand the market for environmentally preferable products. Her current focus is on food and food packaging with a goal of shifting the sector towards using safer chemistry. She has been leading the development of a new certification program for identifying environmentally preferable food contact products called GreenScreen Certified™ for Food Service Ware in partnership with Clean Production Action. Sue has 3 decades of experience in the environmental health field and received a B.A. degree in environmental science from Barnard College and completed a double-Master’s program at University of California Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and the Graduate School of Public Health, where she was a recipient of the prestigious Switzer Environmental Fellowship. She serves on the Boards of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the Ecology Center (Northern CA).

FINE Webinars

FINE’s webinar series creates peer-to-peer learning opportunities for regional food systems stakeholders. Whether you work at an institution, for a food hub or distributor, at a nonprofit, or as a producer, researcher, teacher, or community leader, today’s webinar will provide you with new resources to help your work. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don't miss future webinars.

This webinar was made possible through generous funding from the Environmental Protection Agency's Healthy Communities grant program.