It’s commonplace, at street food stalls across India, to see vendors wrapping up their fare in old newspapers to serve customers or give them takeaways. However, the FSSAI has now announced that it is banning the use of newspapers for wrapping and packing food items.
The reason? Food safety.
Newspaper Ink Contamination
According to the FSSAI when food is packed in newspapers, the newspaper ink can leak into it causing health problems.
“Newspapers should not be used to wrap, cover and serve food or to absorb excess oil from fried food. There is an urgent need to discourage the use of newspaper as food packaging material by creating awareness among businesses, especially, unorganized food business operators and consumers, on its harmful effects. Suitable steps need to be taken to restrict and control the use of newspapers for packing food material,” an advisory issued by the FSSAI said.
“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,” it added.
No Ban… Yet
While the FSSAI has issued guidelines in the advisory, it has not officially banned the use of newspapers to package food yet. However, it is trying to create an awareness of the issue.
Street food vendors, on their part, are questioning where they will find a cost effective substitute for newspapers – a plantain leaf costs Rs.5 which would eat away at any profits they make. Plastic bags are also frowned upon by the FSSAI.
What’s your take on the FSSAI’s advisory?