FSSAI Issues Directive To Stop Use Of Newspapers To Pack Food
Image Credit: Newspaper ink is very harmful | Pexels

When we think of our childhoods, we often remember bhajiya, pakode, or samosas wrapped in newspapers. Some of our best memories are of those extremely delicious snacks. But according to the latest directive by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, consumers as well as food vendors must immediately stop using newspapers for storing, serving, and packing any kind of food item.

The FSSAI issued this directive on Wednesday, and its CEO, G. Kamals Vardhana Rao, explained that there are many health risks associated with packing or serving food in newspapers, and vendors as well as consumers should be alert.

He said, “The ink used in newspapers contains various bioactive materials with non-negative health effects that can contaminate food”. And this is the reason that FSSAI has urged everyone to cooperate and not use newspapers to pack any kind of food item. 

It is important to note that the printing ink used in newspapers contains several chemicals, including lead, which can infest food and cause some serious health risks in the long run. The FSSAI also warned that while the newspapers are distributed in different parts of the country, the chances of them being subjected to contamination by viruses or bacteria increase by many times. These pathogens can get transferred to food and cause various unwanted illnesses.

According to this latest directive, not only should newspapers not be used to store or pack any food item, but they should also never be used to absorb excess oil from deep-fried foods, which is a very common practice in our regular kitchens and households as well. Doing the latter can also cause the toxins in the newspapers to pass on to our food items.

The FSSAI also said that they will work with state governments as well as vendors to reduce the usage of newspapers as food packaging material and, instead of that, promote safer alternatives. What is troublesome is the fact that wrapping food in newspapers seems to be something that is widely accepted; hence, people do not see the disastrous side-effects of it. The FSSAI has said that it will work towards making people aware of the many disadvantages of this activity.  

It has been common knowledge for years that packing food in newspapers is very bad for our health due to the heavy metals used in the printing ink. In fact, back in 2016, the FSSAI released a similar advisory to restrict the use of newspapers as packing material. 

It is clear that the problem can only be solved by making people aware. So, leave your samosa wrapped in newspaper nostalgia right where it belongs—in the past—and adopt healthier habits. We can all start this at our own levels for our own health.