PFA to ban styrofoam packaging for food

LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has decided to ban disposable cups and plates made of styrofoam after a scientific panel declared the material unsafe for packing food items.

The PFA has drafted the Packaging Material Regulation 2018 and after its promulgation, sale of food in non-food grade material will be banned across the province.

Materials such as single-layer styrofoam and newspapers have been declared unlawful in the abovementioned draft for being used as packaging material for food items. It suggests that plastic and other packaging material should be printed with non-absorbent ink and that glue should be made with only halal animal sources for adhesive purposes in food packaging. A three-layer plastic bag should be used for packaging of ghee and oil products, the bill mentions.

The proposed law also makes it mandatory to recycle 19-litre water bottles after every 40th use. The law will be presented before the upcoming board meeting of the authority for approval and subsequent promulgation.

Earlier, the scientific panel had declared disposable styrofoam cups and plates unsafe. It also directed that the usage of styrofoam cups and plates be banned as it could cause cancer.

The PFA authorities said unsafe and unhealthy packaging material would be banned after approval of the proposed law.

Meanwhile, PFA Director General Noorul Amin Mengal held a meeting with snacks industry owners to ensure quality of food items. He said all products should be prepared according to the law and following hygiene principles.

“All the components, including gram flour, pulses and spices, should be of good quality,” he said.

The DG said they were working to help the industry maintain standards in food preparation and also arranging training workshops to ensure hygiene. He directed the owners to get their workers qualified from training schools established in Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi within six months till Oct 15.