By Sumiya Shah
Srinagar: Violating the advisory from the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), street vendors are continuing the usage of newspapers for wrapping the food items in the Valley.
On December 10, FSSAI had issued an advisory in which they have stated to ban the use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items, which is practiced by small corner shops and street vendors. They have 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.
After the advisory from FSSAI, Assistant Food Commissioner Srinagar, Hilal Mir issued a statement, in which it was said that strict action will be taken against those violating the directions of FSSAI.
But the violations are still taking place in civil lines, downtown as well as in uptown areas of Srinagar, not to talk of far-off villages and towns of the Valley. The newspapers continue to be the preferred choice of vendors to wrap the food articles.
The roadside vendors were seen selling snacks to the customers wrapped with the newspapers at many places in and around the Srinagar city. Even fried fish were also sold to the customers wrapped in used newspapers.
As per FSSAI advisory, newspapers should not be used to wrap, cover and serve food or to absorb excess oil from fried food. 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. Suitable steps need to be taken to restrict and control the use of newspapers for packing food material.
“Since the ink used in newspapers has multiple bioactive materials with known negative health effects can easily leach into foods wrapped or served in them, it poses a potential risk to human health when consumed. Also, the solvent used to dissolve ink on the paper can be potentially carcinogenic,” FSSAI said in an advisory.
“We have filed 58 challans in the month of January this year for the insanitary condition in which majority of the cases were about the usage of newspaper,” Hilal added.
Deputy drug controller, Kashmir Division Irfana said, “We are launching an awareness campaign through radio, television and newspapers to discourage use of newspapers for wrapping food items,” she said.