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Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA), Chhattisgarh is going to initiate a campaign for generating awareness amongst all stakeholders to discourage the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items. Under the campaign, unorganised food business operators and consumers will be made aware about its harmful effects.
Suitable steps would be taken to restrict the use of newspapers for packing of food material. Speaking to The Hitavada, Assistant Commissioner of the Food Safety and Drug Administration Dr Ashwani Dewangan confirmed that after the directives of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Administration had directed all designated officers (DOs) and Food Safety Officers (FSOs) to discourage the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items.
In addition, awareness camps will be organised by the Food Safety and Drug Administration in collaboration with Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industries and small group of food businessoperators to restrict use of newspapers as packaging materials. Department would also hold a workshop with Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industries and food business groups, the Assistant Commissioner added.
Use of newspapers for wrapping, packing and serving food is a common practice in Chhattisgarh as well as other parts of the country. This practice is a food safety hazard. Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice and the consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food has been cooked hygienically. People are being slowly poisoned due to newspaper being widely used as food packaging material by small hotels, vendors and also in homes in lieu of absorbent paper. Foods 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.
Newspapers and even paper/cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with metallic contaminants, mineral oils and harmful chemicals like phthalates which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity. 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 material, informed an advisory published by the FSSAI.