India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has issued a call to both consumers and food providers to cease the practice of using newspapers for packaging, serving, or storing food items. FSSAI’s CEO, G Kamala Vardhana Rao, has expressed concern over the potential health hazards linked to this practice and aims to raise awareness among all stakeholders.
Rao emphasized that newspapers are often exposed to various environmental conditions during distribution, rendering them susceptible to contamination by bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that can transfer to food. This, in turn, can lead to foodborne illnesses and other health complications when the contaminated food is consumed.
Highlighting that newspaper ink contains several bioactive materials with known adverse health effects, FSSAI also pointed out that printing inks may contain chemicals, including lead and heavy metals, which can seep into the food and pose significant health risks over time.
While FSSAI is collaborating closely with state food authorities to monitor and enforce regulations that prohibit the use of newspapers for wrapping or packaging food items, it strongly recommends adopting approved food packaging materials such as food-grade containers to ensure consumer safety.
The Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations of 2018 strictly forbid the use of newspapers or similar materials for storing and wrapping food. According to these regulations, newspapers should not be employed for the purpose of wrapping, covering, serving food, or absorbing excess oil from fried food items.