Sunday, April 18, 2021

Food Safety Plans to Ban Wrapping Food with Newspaper

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By Ndey Sowe

The Food Safety and Quality Authority of the Gambia (FSQA) have informed Foroyaa that they are working on banning the act of wrapping food with newspapers.

According to them, the ban is expected to commence in January next year.

Abubacarr Jatta, a Scientific Officer at the FSQA said the ban is expected to start in January 2021, adding foods contaminated by newspaper ink raise serious health concerns since the ink contain multiple bioactive materials with known negative health effects.

He said before January 2021, businesses are expected to adjust to the situation and conditions before the ban come into effect.

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Jatta was speaking in an interview with this reporter on Tuesday, 25th August 2020.

He explained that they came to realize that most Gambians in the markets and food vendors make the use of newspaper, cement papers, magazines, exercise books and even school test/examination papers among other papers to wrap food.

He said: “We conducted a study and we came to realize that other countries happened to make similar studies and have banned the use of these papers for food wrapping because of the health hazards associated to them”.

He disclosed that the ink in the newspapers and other printed materials or written in pen has been found to be associated with cancer and can also come to contact with the endocrine system.

He said most of these chemicals (especially when oily food is wrap with newspapers, the ink) can simply migrate to the food, which can lead to adverse health issues.

He disclosed that most of these papers use for wrapping food are not produce to be used for wrapping food and can expose the papers with lots of contaminations including pesticide and microbes.

He said the institution’s approach is to sensitize the general public about the issue, adding they have already started with the media houses. He added that food inspectors will also be doing the same when they embark on food inspection across the country.

Jatta said their sensitization programmes will enable the public to play their role (as well as consumers) in ensuring the food they are eating is good for consumption.

“The authority have also engage dthe GCCI regarding the issue and the authority is involving  business communities to start producing or importing basic materials to wrap food”, he said.

He disclosed that a Regulation will be developed on the ban for those found wanting.

A new global cancer report by a leading US health organization estimates that cancer will kill 7.6 million people worldwide this year (about 20,000 cancer deaths a day), and more than 12 million people will find out they have the disease.

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