Immediate ban imposed on serving food wrapped in newspapers: Here’s why it can be dangerous

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The food regulator of the country, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has asked vendors and consumers to refrain from using newspapers for serving, packing, and storing food items, reports have said. It is a very common practice in our country to use newspapers to wrap fritters, sweets, and grocery items. It is considered cheap and can be recycled.But often the unhealthy side of it gets missed.
Serving or packaging food in newspapers is strictly prohibited under the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018.

The ink used in the newspaper can turn a healthy food unhealthy

Considered a food safety hazard, the ink used in newspapers contains harmful colors, pigments, binders, additives, and preservatives that can make the food unhealthy even if it is cooked in a healthy way.

Immediate ban imposed on serving food in newspapers: Here's why it can be dangerous

“Newspapers made of recycled paper may be contaminated with metallic contaminants, mineral oils, and harmful chemicals like phthalates which can cause digestive problems and can 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,” the FSSAI issued guidelines in 2016.
A few months before the Chhattisgarh government had asked vendors and consumers to avoid using newspapers for packing food items. In 2019, the sale of food items wrapped in newspapers was prohibited in Chennai.

Do not use newspapers to soak extra oil from food

Another common use of newspapers in India is to soak extra oil from food items. In several households, people spread newspapers to soak oil from deep-fried food items like pakoda, puri, etc.
As per a study published in the Letters in Applied NanoBioScience in 2021, “Newspaper printing ink comprises various bioactive substances, colors, pigments, binders, and additives; such compound migrates from paper to food and newspapers are absorbent enough to soak newsprint, which may cause chronic toxicity.”

Immediate ban imposed on serving food in newspapers: Here's why it can be dangerous

“Furthermore, when handled by several people during manufacturing, handling, and transportation, it allows bacteria to get stuck between the newspaper pages that showcase the negative effect on individuals’ wellbeing after consuming packed food,” the researchers have explained.

Use food packaging material

health experts urge people to use food packaging materials to store foods. Biodegradable materials are safe for human health as well as for the environment. Use containers to carry food, if you are buying food from outside.

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