• Pune food vendors to increase prices after FDA bans newspaper use in packaging


    Pune: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Maharashtra issued orders instructing food vendors to not use newspaper for wrapping of food items as it is harmful for customers due to the ink used, city-based food stalls, snacks centres and sweet shop owners have decided to use blank white paper for wrapping and it will increase the cost of food items.

    FDA issued the order for Pune on December 22 and launched random checking of food stall and snack centres across the city.

    “Despite hike in fuel prices causing rise in cost of oil and other raw materials, we did not change the cost of food items. However, the latest FDA order has left us with no alternative but to increase price by 10 per cent to 15 per cent as plain white paper costs around ₹60 per kg. We have decided to increase the food item rates from January 1, 2022 at our shop,” said Sagar Galande, owner of a sweet mart shop on Shivaji road.

    Mahesh Chavan, secretary of small-scale food vendors association in Pune, said, “There are more than 2,000 small food vendors which include shops, street vendors, hawkers and other food item stalls that daily use newspapers for food wrapping. And some of the food items like bhel, vada pav and chaat items are given only in newspapers for wrapping and parcel delivery. Using white paper leaves us no option other than increase the food rates.”

    Currently on average the cost of food items sold and packed in newspapers costs around ₹10 to ₹40 depending of items like bhel, vada pav, samosa and kachori, sweet items, bakery items and other things. As old newspapers are sold at cheap rates from scrap dealers, shop owners find it affordable. Using white papers or thin plastic bags for packaging will lead to rise in cost of snacks for customers.

    Talking about the harmful effects of newspaper ink, Dr Kailash Mistry said, “The ink used to print newspapers are made of chemicals and it contaminates the food which is wrapped inside it. It causes many people to suffer of stomach issues or vomiting. Also, stomach infection can be caused after consuming such harmful food items packed in newspapers.”