The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory saying it has decided to ban the use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items, a common practice by small corner shops and street vendors.
- In its advisory, FSSAI asked commissioners of food safety of all states and Union territories to take necessary steps to restrict the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items as the newspaper ink can contaminate food items leading to serious health concerns.
- 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.
- According to estimates by the Union housing ministry, in 2014 there were 10 million street vendors, mostly in cities. Consulting firm Boston Consulting Group estimated that there were around 12 million kirana stores in 2014-15.
- 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.
- This is the first time in recent years FSSAI is bringing a new rule relating to packaging of food items. So far, the regulator focused on setting standards for packaged food.