FSSAI asks food vendors, consumers not to use newspapers for food packaging

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a strong caution against a common practice: using newspapers to wrap, serve, or store food items. G Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO of FSSAI, has expressed grave concerns.

Did you know that using newspapers for packing, serving, or storing food can pose serious health risks? The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a stern warning against this practice.

In an effort to protect the health of consumers throughout India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a strong caution against a common practice: using newspapers to wrap, serve, or store food items. G Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO of FSSAI, has expressed grave concerns about this long-standing tradition and its potential health hazards.

The Ink’s Impact on Food

While it might not be immediately apparent, the ink used in newspapers contains bioactive materials known to have adverse health effects. When it comes into contact with food, it can contaminate it, potentially leading to health issues upon consumption. FSSAI’s warning underscores the importance of keeping our food safe from such risks.

Chemical Leaching: A Hidden Threat

Printed newspapers can also contain chemicals, including heavy metals like lead, which can slowly seep into the food they touch. Over time, this can result in serious health problems. This silent threat often goes unnoticed but is nonetheless real.

Vulnerability to Environmental Contaminants

Newspapers are exposed to various environmental conditions during distribution, making them susceptible to contamination by harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. When these contaminants find their way into our food, they can cause foodborne illnesses, posing a significant risk to public health.

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Eating food directly from newspapers can pose several hazards to your health. While it was once a common practice, especially for street food vendors, it is now discouraged due to health concerns. Here are some of the hazards associated with eating newspapers:

  1. Ink and Chemicals: Newspapers use ink that contains various chemicals, including heavy metals like lead and cadmium. When food comes into contact with the ink, these chemicals can leach into your food, which can be harmful if ingested over time.
  2. Bacteria Growth: Newspaper is not a food-grade material, and it’s often not hygienic. Using newspapers as a serving surface can expose your food to harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, which can lead to foodborne illnesses.
  3. Allergies: Some people may be allergic to the ink or paper used in newspapers. Contact with these allergens can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, or digestive issues.
  4. Food Contamination: Newspaper can easily tear or break, leading to contamination of your food with tiny paper particles. Consuming paper fragments can irritate the digestive system and lead to discomfort.
  5. Toxins from Printing Processes: In addition to ink, newspapers may also contain residual chemicals and toxins from the printing process. These substances can migrate into your food and be ingested.
  6. Hygiene Concerns: Newspapers are often handled by many people before they come into contact with your food. The ink and contaminants from people’s hands can transfer to the food, making it unsanitary.
  7. Ingesting Microbes: Newspapers may have been stored in unclean or damp environments, which can encourage the growth of mold, fungi, and other microbes. Ingesting these microbes can lead to health problems.

To avoid these hazards, it’s best to use food-safe materials for serving and eating food. Opt for plates, bowls, parchment paper, or food-grade packaging instead of newspapers. Additionally, always practice good food hygiene by washing your hands and using clean utensils and surfaces when handling and consuming food.

FSSAI’s Strict Regulations: Taking Action

To address these pressing concerns, FSSAI has implemented the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018, which clearly prohibits the use of newspapers or similar materials for storing and wrapping food. This regulation aims to protect consumers from the hidden dangers associated with food packaging.

A Call for Responsible Packaging Practices

Stressing the paramount importance of food safety, CEO Rao has called upon all food vendors to adopt packaging practices that prioritize the well-being of their customers. By doing so, the food industry can play a significant role in ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of the nation’s food supply.

FSSAI’s Commitment to Food Safety

By discouraging the use of newspapers for food packaging and promoting safer alternatives, FSSAI reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the safety of India’s food supply. It is a collective effort, involving consumers, food vendors, and stakeholders across the nation.

A Pledge for Safer Food Packaging

In conclusion, FSSAI urges everyone to immediately stop using newspapers for food packaging. Instead, they recommend using approved food packaging materials and food-grade containers to ensure the safety and well-being of consumers. This small change can have significant implications for public health, and together, we can create a safer and healthier future for all.

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