The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has urged consumers and food vendors to immediately stop using newspapers to pack, serve and store food items, reported The Hindu on Wednesday.

The food regulator’s chief executive officer G Kamala Vardhana Rao issued the directive while expressing concerns over the health risks associated with the practice.

“The ink used in newspapers contains various bioactive materials with known negative health effects, which can contaminate food and lead to health issues when ingested,” Rao said.

He emphasised that printing inks may contain chemicals that seep into food, thus causing health problems.

“Moreover, newspapers are often subjected to various environmental conditions during distribution, making them susceptible to contamination by bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that may transfer to the food, potentially causing foodborne illnesses,” the official said.

He also urged all food vendors to adopt responsible packaging practices in order protect customers’ well-being

Rao said that the safety authority is working closely with the state food authorities to prohibit the use of newspapers for wrapping or packaging food items and promote awareness of the issue.

The Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 prohibit using newspapers or similar material to store or wrap food.