Consumers and food vendors across the country have been urged to immediately stop using newspapers for packing, serving, and storing food items.
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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on Wednesday issued this directive, expressing concern over the health hazards associated with the use of newspapers for wrapping or packaging food.
The CEO of FSSAI, G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, said that there are significant health risks associated with this practice, and the move seeks to alert consumers, food vendors and other stakeholders of the dangers.
“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,” he said.
He also noted that printing inks may contain chemicals, including lead and heavy metals that can leach into the food, posing serious health risks over time. The FSSAI added that 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 food-borne illnesses.
The authority has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018, which strictly prohibits the use of newspapers or similar materials for storing and wrapping food.
According to this regulation, newspapers should not be used to wrap, cover or serve food, nor should they be used to absorb excess oil from fried food.
Emphasising the paramount importance of food safety, Mr. Rao has urged all food vendors to adopt responsible packaging practices that prioritize the well-being of their customers. He further highlighted that by discouraging the use of newspapers as food packaging materials and promoting safe alternatives, the FSSAI reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the safety of the nation’s food supply.
The FSSAI noted that it is closely working with the States’ food authorities to prohibit the use of newspapers for wrapping or packaging food items, and also to promote awareness on this among people at large.