FSSAI soon to Ban Plastic & Newspaper Packaging of Food Items
The topmost food safety regulator FSSAI has so far taken concrete steps for reforming the food businesses in India. Some of the recent measures implemented by FSSAI include the strict regulations in relation to FSSAI registration and FSSAI license for the nationwide food business operations, and the most recently, the nationwide Eat Right India Movement.
With a view to impart awareness for food safety & hygiene throughout India, the FSSAI had launched the Eat Right India Movement.
The food safety watchdog will now completely ban the recycled plastic & newspaper packaging of the food items, in order to prevent health-related risks and environmental degradation.
#1. When will FSSAI impose a ban on plastics & newspaper packaging?
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated new guidelines on food packaging that will shortly be imposed via a notification. These regulations will soon be brought into effect from 1st July 2019. Most importantly, these include the prohibition of use if plastics & newspaper in food packaging.
In this regard, the FSSAI authorities have stated-
“The new food-packaging regulations are in the process of publishing and will soon raise the stand for food safety in India. Evidently, Packaging is an integral aspect of these guidelines and new regulations will be framed to address it.”
#2. How will the ban on plastics & newspapers packaging be imposed?
In view of the significance of the packaging sector in the food supply chain and its role in food safety & hygiene, the FSSAI is soon to replace the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 with new regulations.
- Moreover, FSSAI has already separated the packaging regulations have been from those related to labeling.
- Apart from the requirements for packaging materials, the new regulations would also specify specific migration limits (SML) and the overall migration limits (OML) of the contaminants in case of plastic packaging.
- A suggestive list of alternative packing materials has been made for different food product categories.
#3. Where will the ban have its immediate effect?
The FSSAI authority has cleared stated that the new packaging regulations are being drafted keeping in mind the unorganized sector, where there is rampant use of hazardous packaging stuff.
- Over 380 samples were picked up from the unorganized sector, that comprises of food vendors and hawkers, that mostly don’t possess the FSSAI registration and FSSAI license. Out of these 51 samples were found to be unsatisfactory, which has brought down the rate of conformity to 13.4% as per the recent FSSAI survey report.
- Moreover, the food items in these FBOs were found contaminated with heavy toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, etc.
- The authorities have pointed out that it's the unorganized sector, where especially loose packaging material is found to be unsafe and unfit for the environment and public health.
Thus, the new packaging regulations that include the ban on plastics & newspapers are directed towards regulating the unorganized sector.
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