J & K bans wrapping of food items in newspaper

Image Source: Harmukh News

Aug 2, 2018

Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken a quick action on banning the use of newspaper to wrap food items in Jammu & Kashmir. Citing health hazards linked with packaging food in newspaper, a timely action is needed.

The FSSAI officials said that all the stakeholders right from procurement till the end users should refrain from using of newspapers as packaging material.

But in spite of the imposed ban, many meat & poultry retailers, street food vendors, bakers, snacks and namkeen shops, even fish mongers are handing out food commodities in newspaper packaging. The business operators have been urged to discontinue this harmful practice.

Couple of years back in 2016, the FSSAI had advised street food vendors to stop using newspaper as packaging material – especially for fried food – as the newspaper ink, which is carcinogenic, is absorbed by the food and cause health problems. “Older people, teenagers, children and people with compromised vital organs and immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring cancer-related health complications if they are exposed to food packed in such materials,” the advisory added.

Newspapers are printed with mineral oil ink at thousands of feet per minute. … The ink is absorbed by the inner fibers of the paper and remains slightly damp because most of the paper is not exposed to the air to evaporate. Therefore, the ink from paper more often than not, rubs off with surface contact on fingers and food items. When consumed is definite to give health problems.

Again in 2017, the Commissioner of Food Safety emphasized harmful effects of eating food out of printed newspaper wrappings. In the same year, the Commissioner issued an order which prohibited the storage, distribution, and sale of food articles packed in printed material including newspapers.

This year, we’re still in the same arena as in yester years where a sea of vendors and businesses still continues to store and serve food items in newspapers. That said, on a personal level we all could be more vigilant and not to consume food that comes in or on printed-paper.

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