Food regulator FSSAI has asked food vendors and consumers to immediately stop using newspapers for packing, serving and storage of food items citing significant health risks.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is closely working with state food authorities to monitor and enforce regulations in this regard.
FSSAI Chief Executive Officer (CEO) G Kamala Vardhana Rao has "strongly urged consumers and food vendors across the country to immediately stop using newspapers for packing, serving and storing food items."
He expressed concern over the use of newspapers for wrapping or packaging food and also pointed out significant health risks associated with this practice.
"The ink used in newspapers contains various bioactive materials with known negative health effects, which can contaminate food and lead to health issues when ingested," FSSAI cautioned on Wednesday.
Additionally, printing inks may contain chemicals, including lead and heavy metals, that can leach into the food, posing serious health risks over time, the regulator said.
"Moreover, newspapers are often subjected to various environmental conditions during distribution, making them susceptible to contamination by bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that may transfer to the food, potentially causing foodborne illnesses," FSSAI said.
FSSAI has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 which strictly prohibits the use of newspapers or similar materials for storing and wrapping food.
As per this regulation, newspapers should neither be used to wrap, cover or serve food nor be used to absorb excess oil from fried food.
Emphasising the paramount importance of food safety, Rao urged all food vendors to adopt responsible packaging practices that prioritise the wellbeing of their customers.
He further highlighted that by discouraging the use of newspapers as food packaging materials and promoting safe alternatives, FSSAI reaffirms its commitment to ensuring the safety of the nation's food supply.
FSSAI urged consumers, food vendors and stakeholders across the nation to immediately discontinue the use of newspapers as food packaging material and recommended the adoption of safe and approved food packaging materials as well as food-grade containers, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of consumers.