Vendors selling eatables wrapped in newspapers pose health risk

Despite an advisory from The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), street vendors are continuing the use of newspapers for wrapping eatables across Kashmir Valley.

On December 10, 2016 FSSAI had issued an advisory in which they instructed vendors to ban the use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items, a move practiced by small corner shops and street vendors.

FSSAI 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 many areas of Srinagar and still newspapers continue to be the preferred choice of vendors to wrap the food items,” said Abdul Rashid, a school teacher.

He said that road side vendors are seen selling snacks to the customers wrapped in newspapers at many places in and around the Srinagar city.

Pertinently, the food and drug control department has been tasked to seek action against violators.

“We have filed 58 challans in the month of January alone this year against the violators for selling food items wrapped in newspapers,” Assistant Food Commissioner Srinagar, Hilal Ahmad said.

“We have taken action against many street vendors who were using newspapers for wrapping food items. Our team is regularly checking the markets and advising vendors not to use newspapers. Another 14 challans are in the pipeline as well and we will soon take action on them,” Hilal Ahmad added.     

He also said that the street vendors should use plain paper for wrapping food as there is a ban on use of Polythene bags as well.

“It is the responsibility of public as well that they should not accept the food items wrapped in newspapers and steps should be taken to aware the people about the harmful effect of newspaper ink,” Sajad ahmad, a student said.

As per FSSAI advisory, newspapers should not be used to wrap, cover and serve 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.

The advisory also says that 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. It can easily leach into foods wrapped or served in them and poses a potential risk to human health when consumed,” FSSAI said in the advisory.

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