FSSAI urges avoiding newspaper for food packaging, citing health risks. Photo Credit: iStock
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has urged food vendors and consumers to stop using newspapers for packing, storing, and serving food items, with immediate effect. Reportedly, the food regulator said that the ink used in newspapers contains certain chemicals that can pose various health risks. FSSAI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) G Kamala Vardhana Rao "strongly urged consumers and food vendors across the country to immediately stop using newspapers for packing, serving, and storing food items", reads a PTI report.
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G Kamala Vardhana Rao further highlighted the risks associated with using newspapers to wrap and pack food items. According to FSSAI, the printing ink contains "various bioactive materials" that can be harmful to health. "The ink used in newspapers contains various bioactive materials with known negative health effects, which can contaminate food and lead to health issues when ingested," Mr. Rao said.
The report further reads that the ink may have chemicals such as lead and heavy metals that can enter the human body through the food served or wrapped in newspaper. "Moreover, newspapers are often subjected to various environmental conditions during distribution, making them susceptible to contamination by bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that may transfer to the food, potentially causing foodborne illnesses," FSSAI warned.
The food regulatory body has also notified the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018, which prohibits the use of newspapers or similar materials for storing, packing, or wrapping food. According to the regulation, consumers and vendors must avoid using newspapers to cover or serve edible items. Newspapers should also not be used to absorb excess oil from fried foods like samosa or pakodas.
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The PTI report states that FSSAI is now working closely with the state food authorities to make sure that newspapers are not used by anyone to serve or pack food.
G Kamala Vardhana Rao, while issuing the warning, stated that by discouraging the use of newspapers and promoting safer alternatives, FSSAI is reaffirming its commitment to ensuring the safety of food supplied in the country.