INDIA – Concerned over food contamination from newspaper ink, food regulator FSSAI has asked food safety authorities of all states/UTs to take steps for restricting the use of newspapers for storage and packaging of food items.

FSSAI also asked state authorities to create awareness among food business operators, especially unorganised ones, as well as consumers about harmful effects of using newspaper as food packaging material.

“Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/Union Territories are requested to initiate a systematic campaign for generating awareness amongst all stakeholders to discourage the use of newspaper for packing, serving and storing of food items,” Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said in a letter.

The regulator said that the use of newspaper for wrapping, packing and serving food is common practice in India.

“However, this is a food safety hazard.”

“Food contaminated by newspaper ink raise serious health concerns since the ink contains multiple bioactive materials with known negative health effects.

“Printing inks may also contain harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives and preservatives. Besides chemical contaminants, presence of pathogenic microorganisms in used newspapers also pose potential risk to human health,” it said.

Stating that newspapers should not be used to wrap, cover and serve food or to absorb excess oil from fried food, FSSAI said 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 and consumers on its harmful effects.

“Suitable steps need to be taken to restrict and control the use of newspapers for packing of food material,” the regulator said in a letter.

December 8, 2016;