Ban on newspapers, plastics to pack food items
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Ban on newspapers, plastics to pack food items

October 28, 2017

Mysuru: The practise of hotels, restaurants and canteens wrapping food items like idli, vada, dosa, rice bath in newspapers and plastic papers are going to be a thing of the past.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken a strong objection on this practice and decided to enforce the ban strictly. In the interest of the health of the people, the Authority is keeping a strict vigil on street food stalls, pushcarts, hotels, canteens and restaurants.

It is a usual practice to pack food items in all these places in newspapers. As a result, the ink in the newspapers get absorbed into the food items and in turn will affect the health of people who consume it.

Also, in majority of the hotels and canteens, to steam idlis, plastic papers are being used while, earlier, thin muslin cloth were being used. In the light of this, under the FSSAI Act, the Authority is taking action.

Already more than 200 notices have been served on hotels, restaurants and canteen owners in Mysuru district under this Act. Including a Bakery in Hebbal, notices have been served in several places.

The Notice says that newspapers should not be used to pack food items and plastic paper should not be used to steam idlis. If it comes to the notice that in spite of the warning it is being done, stringent action will be taken against such offenders.

There is also provision to impose a fine up to Rs. One lakh under this Act. If they do not pay the fine, then a case will be registered in the ADC Court where a fine will be imposed. If they violate it then the case will be registered in the JMFC, said the Designated Officer Dr. Chidambara. To the Mysuru District Vector Borne Officer Dr. Chidambara this is an additional responsibility. He has been given three assistants.

Dr. Chidambara

These officials since the last two-and-a-half months have inspected canteens, hotels and restaurants and also created awareness among the hotel owners about the FSSAI Act.

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Printing ink, usually used for printing newspapers, may contain bioactive materials, harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives, preservatives, chemical contaminants and even pathogenic microorganisms that may pose potential risk to human health, according to the FSSAI advisory.

“Newspapers and even paper or cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with metallic contaminants, mineral oils and harmful chemicals like phthalates which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe  toxicity,” it said.

Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice and the consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food has been cooked hygienically. “Indians are being slowly poisoned due to newspapers being widely used as food packaging material by small hotels, vendors and also in homes in lieu of absorbent paper,” the regulator said.

According to the Hotel Owners Association, there are six to seven thousand hotels, canteens and restaurants in the district. Out of this, it is learnt that there are 4,500 street food canteens.

Nearly 10 percent have already stopped using newspapers and plastics and instead using plantain leaves. Since the remaining had asked for time,  they had been given time till Oct. 15. Once again we will conduct a drive to curb this practice, said one of the FSSAI officials to Star of Mysore.

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