Don't eat newspaper wrapped food

I was just skimming through the newspaper a few days ago and chanced upon this news about how food wrapped in newspaper can be hazardous to health.

The directorate of food and drugs administration (FDA) has advised street vendors, kiosks, fast food operators, food business operators and others to refrain from wrapping eatables in newspaper. This is because newspaper ink, which contains multiple bioactive components having negative health effects, contaminates the food. Used newspapers also contain pathogenic microorganisms. 

"Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice and consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food was cooked hygienically. Old 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 material," read a statement issued by FSSAI.

We all have heard of this umpteen times but most of the time we overlook it and consume such food when we go out and try street food, thinking that once in a while consumption is not that harmful. But such carelessness should be nipped in the bud. Some women even have the habit of using newspapers instead of tissue papers to drain excess oil out of deep-fried foods. As far as health is concerned, one must not take any chances and one should totally avoid such practices.

Street food vendors, especially in third world countries pack their edibles in newspapers and most customers gleefully consume them quite unaware of the health threats they pose.  Restaurants often pack hot curries, soups and gravies in thin, transparent polythene bags as takeaways or 'parcel' as they call it. Sometimes hot tea / coffee is also served in these thin, transparent plastic cups. These polythene bags / cups, in addition to polyethylene  have other dangerous chemicals and hormone disruptors which can leach into the food  and pose a  serious health threat. They can also cause various cancers. This process of chemical leaching / diffusion into the food is more quicker and lethal in case of hot beverages / gravies / oily fried stuff.

While it's a welcome step that FDA along with Nestle India Limited and National Association of Street Food vendors has trained 1,029 street food vendors in food safety and hygiene since it started a training program titled Serve Safe Food@Street Food in November in Goa, we should also do our bit and educate people around us about the hazards of eating such food.

Some things that we can do:
* After deep-frying or even shallow frying always put the fried stuff on a kitchen tissue paper and never on newspapers.
* Never ever eat fried pakodas, samosas or kachories wrapped in newspapers. Plain paper wrapped food at least is better than newspaper wrapped food.
* Never drink hot beverages from plastic cups.
* If you have to get something from a restaurant, always take your own containers and ask them to pack the food in it.
* If you plan to get some street-food packed to be eaten at home, always carry your own butter paper instead of getting the food wrapped in a newspaper.
* Also avoid wrapping cut fruits / fruits without outer peel,  fish / poultry in newspapers.

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  1. Srisha3:26 PM

    the type of materials used to manufacture newspapers are medically unhealthy. Newspapers being made out of recycled materials, it becomes easy for the greasy food to absorb the black carbon ink chemical ingredients due to direct contact.

  2. Trisha3:33 PM

    Its extremely unhealthy and toxic to wrap your food in a newspaper. The ink used for printing the newspaper is dissolved on paper with the help of chemical. When you wrap your food in newspaper the chemicals get leached into your food and can make you sick and even cause cancer.There it is wise not to use Newspaper for wrapping food


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