Are you wrapping your Chapatis in Paper or Aluminium Foil ? Which one is safer ?

Over past few years people are blaming aluminium foil as an unhealthy alternative to wrap chapatis (Indian flatbread). Most of such educational sermons are spreading through social networks with no research behind them. In our last article we discussed the usage of aluminium foil and found it safe for wrapping purpose if the food being wrapped is not acidic. But here we are comparing paper with foil ! Some of you might think that paper is more natural and must be better to remain on safer side, but your knowledge bout paper will be improved after reading this article.

Paper is a cheaper than aluminium foil and if you are using old newspaper for wrapping food then you must be saving a lot. Yes, people use old newspaper instead of paper napkin to save some money. If we talk about paper napkin then there are different qualities in it. Some paper napkins have printed designs to make them look better and people often prefer them.

Instead of making you read whole article, let me make it clear that aluminium foil is much better than any kind of paper to wrap your roti / chapati / bread. If you are interested in improving you knowledge with the facts behind this statement then you must read this full article.

If you are using newspaper for wrapping your food then here are some facts for you .

  • Recycled paper, which is usually used in newspaper production may be contaminated with chemicals like diisobutyl phthalate and di-n-butyl phthalate which are harmful for our digestive system. These recycled paper also contain printing-ink residues from previous prints, which may contain hormone disruptors like benzophenones and mineral oils.
  • Eating newsprint can also lead to lead poisoning. However modern laws don't allow usage of lead in ink, but only god knows how many newspapers are following all rules and regulation, especially when it comes to local newspapers.
  • Organic chemicals such as arylamines, such as benzidine, 2-Naphthylamine and 4-Aminobiphenyl, are found to increase the risk of bladder and lung cancer. Printing inks also contain colorants, pigments, binders, additives and photo-initiators which are harmful for human health.

According to sciencing.com you can test it yourself if your newspaper is using harmful ink or the safer soy-based ink. Just rub your finger on the black text of the newspaper. If you find a lot of deep inky black residue stuck on your finger tip, then it mean that it could be harmful petroleum based ink.

According to hindustantimes.com, a few years ago FSSAI published an advisory to warn citizens of India about printing-ink being used in newspapers. According to that advisory that ink may contain harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives, preservatives, chemical contaminants and pathogenic micro organisms. Older people and kids with weaker immune system are at greater risk if the consume that ink through the food wrapped in newspaper. That advisory also warned about cancer-related health and urged public to stay away from wrapping or serving food in newspaper as mostly done by road side vendors. 

If you are thinking that plain paper might be safe for food wrapping usage, then you are wrong. Microbial contamination can easily occur in paper wraps. As far as our research is concerned aluminium foil is better than any kind of paper to wrap your food. To know more about aluminium foil used in food wrapping, you may read our last article : Using Aluminium Foil to wrap your food ! Is it Healthy ?

Here let me tell you one thing ! Bacteria can't cross the layer of aluminium foil, but paper can be easily breached. Even paper can be a playground for various types of bacteria.

Reference :

  • http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/eating-food-wrapped-in-newspapers-can-cause-cancer/
  • https://www.dawn.com/news/1107947
  • https://sciencing.com/test-ink-newspapers-see-toxic-7699090.html
  • https://www.hindustantimes.com/health-and-fitness/bad-news-don-t-wrap-food-in-newspapers-printing-ink-contains-harmful-colours/story-LpcVR0iOcHnNrzUSuGbVmO.html
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331834585_Bacteriological_Load_in_Traditional_Food_Packaging_Paper
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