India’s food regulator has issued an advisory stating that the use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items, a common practice by street vendors, poses a health hazard.
The regulator on Wednesday expressed concern over “Indians being slowly poisoned” by cancer-causing agents in newspaper ink.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) restricted the use of newspapers and packaging material saying that consumption of food wrapped in newspapers was “injurious to health, even if the food had been cooked hygienically. Indians are being slowly poisoned due to newspapers being widely used as food packaging material by small hotels, vendors and also in homes in lieu of absorbent paper.”
The food regulator said the chemicals in newspaper ink contain harmful colours, pigments, additives and preservatives.
“Besides chemical contaminants, presence of pathogenic micro-organisms in used newspaper poses potential risk to human health. Older people, 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 material,” said FSSAI in a press statement.
The FSSAI has stated that there is an urgent need to discourage the use of newspaper as food packaging material by creating awareness among businesses, especially unorganised food business operators, about the harmful effects. The regulator has instructed the commissioners of food safety across the country to initiate an awareness campaign to this effect.