Indrani Dutta

KOLKATA: Tinplate manufacturers have protested the “illegal use” of galvanised plain (GP) sheet packaging for edible oils, saying that GP sheet is a material primarily used for making sheets for roofing, trunks and at times for making containers for packaging non-edibles such as industrial oil and molasses.

“GP sheets coating contains lead and zinc which are toxic materials and are known to be carcinogenic and poisonous and hence are not to be used for coatings on materials which are to be used for packaging edibles,” a press release issued by the Indian Tinplate Manufacturers’ Association (ITMA) said.

Edible oil packed in such containers is susceptible to contamination as GP is not the prescribed material for packaging edibles, the ITMA said. Customers of 15-kg tins have all along been buying oil in the belief that oil purchased by them is packed in containers made from tinplate conforming to the provisions of the food laws. The reality was different especially in the case of edible oils from States like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The ITMA said that this matter has been taken up the State governments, some of whom have taken cognisance of it and issued necessary instructions.

However, in many cases such instructions were being flouted for petty profiteering since GP sheets are cheaper than tinplates.

Though the origin of this menace is in Rajasthan and M.P., the tins so filled are being distributed and sold in other States also.

Preferred medium

The Association said that all over the world tinplate is the most preferred medium for packaging food and edible oil. In India it has been used for packaging food and edible oils for many years.

The reasons are ease of transportation, longer shelf life and above all it is a far healthier option.