The use of newspapers for packing, serving, and storing food items has raised significant concerns regarding health hazards. Ink found in newspapers contains bioactive materials known to have negative health effects. When newspapers are employed for wrapping or packaging food, these materials can contaminate the food, potentially leading to health issues when ingested. Additionally, the printing inks used in newspapers may contain chemicals, including lead and heavy metals. Over time, these chemicals can leach into the food, posing serious health risks to consumers.
Moreover, newspapers are susceptible to environmental conditions during distribution, making them prone to contamination by bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens. These contaminants can transfer to the food, potentially causing food-borne illnesses.
Regulatory Measures and Prohibited Uses of Newspapers
To address these concerns and prioritize food safety, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken decisive action. FSSAI issued a directive urging consumers and food vendors across the country to immediately cease using newspapers for food-related purposes. This directive is backed by the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018, which strictly prohibit the use of newspapers or similar materials for storing, wrapping, or serving food. According to these regulations, newspapers should not be used to wrap or cover food items, serve food, or absorb excess oil from fried dishes.
Promoting Food Safety and FSSAI’s Commitment
In light of these developments, G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, the CEO of FSSAI, has emphasized the paramount importance of food safety. He has urged all food vendors to adopt responsible packaging practices that prioritize the well-being of their customers. Furthermore, FSSAI is actively collaborating with state food authorities to enforce the prohibition on the use of newspapers for food packaging.
Simultaneously, the authority is conducting awareness campaigns to educate the public about the health risks associated with this practice. By discouraging the use of newspapers as food packaging materials and promoting safe alternatives, FSSAI reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the safety of the nation’s food supply.